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Language fair offers a look at other cultures

Students perform a Spanish dance at the language fa - Deon Dibley
Students perform a Spanish dance at the language fa
— image credit: Deon Dibley

Dancing, singing and sampling foods from foreign nations were among the choices for those who attended a World Language Fair at Ridge Top Junior High in the Central Kitsap School District recently.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Central Kitsap is a mixture of cultures and that was reflected at the fair. In the Central Kitsap area there are  2,109 people of Asian descent, 1,296 people of two or more races, 623 people of African -American descent, 185 people of Alaskan Native/ American Indian descent and 178 Pacific Islanders.

To explore culture, Ridgetop Junior High hosts the World Language Fair every year. Complete with informational flyers, games, food, and entertainment, it is a fun-filled event for people of all ages. And everything is free.

According to organizers, the annual language fair began as a way to share the world with others and create bonds between people. It gives people in the community the chance to appreciate how other cultures live, eat, and communicate without having to leave Kitsap County.

Abraham Shim, a sophomore at Central Kitsap High School, is in Advanced Placement Japanese and attends the fair each year for the experience.

Another student, Jameson Johnson, does the same.

“It’s always a lot of fun,” said Johnson, a junior at CK High. Johnson has been attending since he was in the eighth grade and ran the Spanish booth this year.

For other students, it was their first time attending the fair.

Rio Landis and Alex Foutz, freshmen at Central Kitsap Junior High, were impressed by the variety of food made available for tasting.

“The diversity of the foods really enhances the experience,” Foutz said, and Landis agreed. Ranging from sushi to tamales to fortune cookies, many tables were filled with tasty treats.

Visitors also could go to the gymnasium where there was entertainment.

Foreign exchange student Alba Velasco-Hernandez from Spain danced to showcase the cultural influence on performing arts.

Attendees were told about the importance of knowing a foreign language. Among them: most colleges now do not accept students who do not have a second language which they have studied for at least two years in high school; foreign languages can improve math and English entrance exam scores and foreign languages can help students as they begin their careers.

Students also could view a list of foreign language requirements from selected Washington colleges and universities. One student noted that American Sign Language is not accepted it as a foreign language at some colleges.

Students learned that in a global economy, the knowledge of other languages could get them the job over another applicant. The fair was created to help convey that, and the importance of having awareness of other cultures in a fun and lively way.

CK High School Sophomore Ella Herrmann, said organizers hit the mark.

“They did a fantastic job,” Herrmann said.

 

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