By Peter Day
For several hours on Thursday night, the Lucerne Valley Elementary School campus was transformed into a veritable world of culture that included food, authentic costumes, and educational displays during the school’s first-ever Multicultural Night.
“It’s something new,” said teacher Marina Chicca-Wilding, one of the event organizers. “We decided to combine several events together and get the whole school involved. Lorie Raschke (an LVES teacher) came up with the idea. This is something we can build on.”
Multicultural Night guests, which included students, parents and staff, were each given a “passport” to begin their journeys to become a “Citizen of the World.” Each teacher stamped a “visa” sticker on every passport book.
The first stop for attendees was Ms. Chris Pennington’s classroom, which showcased the country of India. While Hindi is the most common language in India, students were learning Malayalam. Ms. Pennington has friends and family in India.
The next stop was Ms. Carly Stiles classroom, which showcased France. On the classroom bulletin board were postcards with fanciful notes from students to their family. One postcard from student Nicole was addressed to “Mom and Dad.”
“We are having a blast,” the card read. “I wish you can be here with me. We went to Bordeaux and Saint Emilion. We will be here for a week. Tomorrow we will visit the Pyrenees Mountains.”
Mrs. Mary Eller’s visitors were greeted with bread, butter and “hagelslag” sprinkles. Dutch people eat more than 14 million kilos of the sweet candy sprinkles every year.
Kenya, Mexico, Germany, El Salvador, Greece and many other countries were represented during the Multicultural Night event. Just days before Cinco de Mayo, the Davalos family, who are key contributors and volunteers for school and community events, performed folklorico dance in authentic, colorful dresses. Mrs. Davalos joined in with singing during the LVES Baile Folklorico performance.
Response to Multicultural Night was extremely positive.
“It was amazing,” staff member Chyna Hite said after the event. “Every teacher and class did such an awesome job!”
“Hats off to Marina and Lorie for organizing this event,” teacher Shelley Lane wrote to staff members latter Thursday evening. “Thank you to everyone involved with the night. In my nine years here, I think this night has had this biggest turnout of any other night. My room was busy from doors open to doors closed. I counted my stickers at one point and I had at least 200 people come through my room!”
Students and their parents also endorsed the first Multicultural Night.
“I talked to several parents and asked what they thought of the event,” Ms. Lane added. “I heard nothing but positive and kind words. Also, I talked to some of the students and they said that this has by far been their favorite after school event they’ve attended.”
As the school year creeps closer, Lucerne Valley Elementary School will see an increase in year-end activities. The 6th Grade Spring Dance is on May 8, “Walk Through the Ancient World” is on May 9, the LVES Drama Club production of “Peter Pan” will run May 10-12, the 6th grade field trip to Disney/California Adventure will be on May 17 and second graders will go on a field trip to the San Bernardino County Museum on May 21.
Also, a Kindergarten Celebration will take place on May 24, a multi-grade field trip to Forever Wild will take place on May 28, 6th graders will tour the middle high school followed by their promotion ceremony on May 28, and the 6th grade class will participate in the annual Bridge Building Competition on May 30.
Peter Day currently is a social media advisor for the Lucerne Valley Unified School District.
Photos by Peter Day except photo #2 by Destany Cagle.
To views photos by teacher Reuben Rivas of the Ballet Folklorico dance presentation during the Multicultural Night event, visit https://photos.app.goo.gl/UNrfd5e8Jt85iaZd8