Three years ago, Marina Veprinski and her colleagues at Lynhurst Middle School in Wayne Township had an idea for how to make their many international students feel more welcome.
Why not hold a big festival, they thought, where students, teachers and community members could celebrate cultures from across the world? With help from students from the University of Indianapolis, they got the idea off the ground.
On Wednesday, they held the Lynhurst International Festival for the third year, and Veprinski said it gets better each time.
“We want to show that we have we respect, and we want everybody to feel at home in the United States,” Veprinski said. “Students at our school feel very welcome in the whole district.”
The event, designed by Lynhurst teachers who specialize in teaching English as a new language, featured food, dancing and presentations about world cultures by students and members of the community.
Chalkbeat played a small role, too: debuting foreign language translations of our recent series on the challenges school face to help English language learners called “Lost In Translation.” To view stories from the series in Spanish or Burmese, readers can now simply click a button at the top of the story above the main text.
Luna Language Services, an Indianapolis-based non-profit, provided the translations for free.
We also posed a question to attendees: Why is it important to learn about other cultures?
You can see their answers in our photo gallery below:
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- PHOTO: Hayleigh Colombo“It’s very important to learn about other cultures because we need to know about different people who live in our world.” –Anna Voskoboynik, 7th grade, attends the Indianapolis Russian School
- PHOTO: Hayleigh Colombo“It is important to learn about other cultures because you can explore the other cultures to learn more about our world.” –Mau Chope, 7th grade
- PHOTO: Shaina Cavazos“Because in learning about others we learn how truly beautiful the world is where we live.” –Denita Harris, language assistance program coordinator in Wayne Township
- PHOTO: Hayleigh Colombo“To avoid any conflict between races and ethnic groups.” –Mauro Herrera, 7th grade
- PHOTO: Hayleigh Colombo“To become more aware, open-minded and accepting towards the world around us.” –Asiya Z. Ehsan, 8th grade
- PHOTO: Shaina Cavazos“I think it’s important to learn about other cultures because it’s easier to communicate with others. Another reason it’s important is that we know how others follow their rituals and we can see why some things are important to them.” –Simi Kaur, 7th grade
- PHOTO: Hayleigh Colombo“So you can expand your knowledge of the world and people around you.” –Zachary Smith, 8th grade
- PHOTO: Shaina Cavazos“So you can know about other countries.” –Summer Lawson, 7th grade
- PHOTO: Hayleigh Colombo“It is important to learn about other cultures because you might go there and you would want to know what you are supposed to do.” –Chahaade Moustapha, 4th grade
- PHOTO: Hayleigh Colombo“To understand we are all together in the human family.” –Jamie Goodwin, executive director of Global Indiana, and her son Theo
- PHOTO: Shaina Cavazos“We are members of one human family, and we need to celebrate and embrace our differences.” –Maureen Hoffman-Wehmeier
- PHOTO: Shaina Cavazos“It’s important to learn about other cultures because we can make life experiences with other people that we meet. We might even need to learn about their people as well.” –Alyssa Toner, 8th grade
- PHOTO: Shaina Cavazos“I think it’s important to learn about other cultures because it is good to know how others live and what it might be about.” –Amina, 7th grade
- PHOTO: Shaina Cavazos“To know what is different from yours and what cultures other people come from.” –Ayo-da, 6th grade
PHOTO: Shaina Cavazos“To know what is different from yours and what cultures other people come from.” –Ayo-da, 6th grade