Hunting Hills to host international cultural fair

  • May. 20, 2015 3:02 p.m.

Students and staff at Hunting Hills High School are gearing up for a first-hand look at a range of cultures via the Hunting Hills Multi-Cultural Fair, set for May 28th at the school.

The event, which will feature a multitude of informative booths, games, activities plus delicious treats, runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the gathering area. It’s ideal for the whole family, complete with activities for the kids as well.

“What we are trying to do is highlight the amazing multi-cultural characteristics of our school, and to celebrate culture within our school,” said Arlee Oprenchok, a world history and social studies teacher at the school, who also coordinates the Diversity Club.

The event is open to everyone, including students who will be attending Hunting Hills in the future. “The language classes, world history classes, and the Diversity Club, our FNMI Group (First Nation, Métis and Inuit), are also participating as well our international students.

“When you arrive to the fair, you will get a passport and there will be questions on the back – as you travel through, you can find all the different answers from the students.”

Students who have been on school trips, such as to China and Spain, will have the opportunities to incorporate those experiences into their presentations as well.

CARE (Central Alberta Refugee Effort) representatives will also be onhand to run their refugee camp simulation, which gives visitors the chance to see something of what displaced people experience.

Oprenchok said she wants people to see the school’s passion for learning about others and the amount of care they have for other people. “It’s also about looking at similarities between people rather than differences, in a world where we very often focus on how we differ.”

Various sponsors are also providing samples of cuisine, something for which organizers are very grateful, she added. Samples will provide a ‘taste’ of a stream of cultures.

It’s a reflection of a changing community demographic, too. “I have a Social 20 class and a quarter of the students weren’t born in Canada. So they come with an amazing wealth of understanding that enriches the classroom.

“It’s a part of the multi-cultural fair – it’s an opportunity for people to explain their own stories, but also to understand someone else’s story.”

Leah Stella, an English and Spanish teacher at the school, agreed the fair is a great means of engaging the students who have traveled abroad – she took 40 students to Spain this past March.

“So it was very important for us to come back and have a showcase of what that experience meant for the kids. In doing that, I partnered with (teacher) Sandi Cai, who has taken 20 kids to China.”

The experience of travel was used for other projects as well, and is a foundation for enriching the cultural fair overall. “Now they have stories to tell. And from there, it really expanded,” to the concept of showcasing multiculturalism and global citizenship in Hunting Hills. “We thought who else can we include in this? That’s when we looked at the world history classes and the Diversity Club, FNMI, the French program and ESL.”

Stella described it as an open house format. “Our booths will be here, we will have music playing, there will be a slide show, visitors can talk to the kids who are running their booths, there will be games in the library that kids can take part in. We’re really hoping people come out – it’s definitely educational and family-oriented.

“We really also to showcase our school in terms of being a leaders in global citizenship, so people keep looking at Hunting Hills and say, ‘Yes, they know what it is to be accepting, understanding and have a world outlook and a focus that is one of having a broader view’.”

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