International celebrated all in one spot

Students' focus their attention on diverse winter holidays


Leyton Deertz

From different parts of the same country, Elena Bustamante and Roberto Grosso discuss their experiences in Spain at the World Language Club meeting on Monday, Dec. 12.

Austin Liu, News Editor, Reporter

Around the globe, people of various backgrounds are celebrating winter holidays and enjoying the festivals associated with those holidays. From Christmas to Las Posadas, many celebrations take place with different traditions around the world. At FHS, observance and celebration of these holidays occurs with the members of the World Language Club at their annual Winter Potluck event.

 The school club’s potluck event is planned each year before finals and winter break begin, welcoming foreign exchange students currently attending FHS to meet others and also enjoy some food. During the meeting, a presentation is given that covers the many holidays celebrated during the winter season. Foreign exchanges students also are asked to share about their home country and the culture from their countries, different from that of the United States, to further focus on the holidays and ways of life of other countries around the world.

 This year, the potluck was held on Dec. 12 in Mrs. Redwine’s room, room number 3408, during the second half of an A&E school period. At the event, a wide variety of students, from freshmen to seniors, showed up to contribute to the festiveness of the event. While students and members of the club began arriving to the meeting, all the types of food brought for the potluck were set out in the back of the room, differing from chocolate cakes to tortilla chips with cheese dip.

 “The World Language Club gives an opportunity to explore cultures and languages that are not taught and covered in our school,” said President of the World Language Club Meagan Olsen who is a senior this year, “The potluck for our club is just a fun way for people to learn about the school’s foreign exchange students and different cultures, [and it is a] great way to celebrate right before finals start.”

Olsen said that she wanted to convey the idea that “FHS is a diverse community of people” and that what the club promotes is “a way to learn about that community of different people and be accepting of all cultures. We want to provide information to people at school about maintaining the solidarity of being accepting of of others and learning more about other languages.”

The other members of the club who planned out and came to the Winter Potluck brought extra personal perspectives on the subject of cultural diversity and what the club offers that is important and special for the school. According to these members, learning about other cultures was the general idea at the center of the club’s goals.

“It’s so cool and great to learn and experience different cultures someone might not think about. It is also just interesting when you compare and contrast the cultures there are in the world” said member and one of the organizers of the club, Parker Evatt, to add on to the subject.

The World Language Club Potluck event this year also welcomed and was comprised of a special feature, the presence of some of the foreign exchanges attending FHS this school year. These students are a part of the diverse school community that is at the base of the club’s main goal: promoting all types of cultures and languages and expressing the importance of making this diversity known to the school. This year, the foreign exchange students that showed up at the club’s potluck were Jeff Hung of Taiwan, Elena Bustamante of Spain, Mariette Bergene of Norway, Weide Liu of China and Roberto Grosso of Spain.

“I came to the the potluck because Mrs. Redwine sent me an invitation to come”, said foreign exchange student Jeff Hung. “Celebrating many of the winter holidays at the event makes me know more about America. There’s not that much diversity from where I come which is something special about America.”

“I am from Spain and came because Megan from my physics class texted me about it”, said foreign exchange student Elena Bustamante. “There are so many other extra clubs and activities at FHS that weren’t at my school in Spain. It is great to come and look at how diverse the school is and celebrate that.”

As the days and winter holiday celebrations pass and with the U.S. Presidential elections behind, Olsen stated that the most important idea to keep in mind is “to listen to others and hear what they have to say about a topic and their opinion and to not assume” and that others “may have something else to bring to the table that could add more useful details in changing and thinking about perspectives of the topic again”.

Thinking about the future, Olsen hopes for the success of her club for the next year and years to come. She wants for it to bring in more people with diversity of ideas and beliefs and a desire to continue learning about and exploring cultures and languages around the world.

“I am really hoping for more people to come and participate in our club’s events and that students would care about our goals.”

As the meeting and potluck came to an end, the message of the World Language Club rang more than ever for this season of peace and celebrations: to work to value the experiences and perspectives of those different from your own.

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