Arnn students celebrate diversity; weeklong recognition
CAMP ZAMA, Japan (May 28, 2015) -- Students from Arnn Elementary School celebrated many diverse cultures during Multicultural Week held May 18 to 22, to include a Multicultural Day assembly held May 21 inside the school's cafeteria.
As part of the weeklong event, students experienced food, music, dances, games and art crafts from different countries around the world in recognition of the Multicultural Day theme, "Many Faces from Many Places."
"Multicultural Week is about celebrating diverse cultures and providing information about different backgrounds," said Gwen Baxter-Oakley, principal of Arnn.
Ruby Moore, a sixth-grader, commented that she and fellow classmates participated in the several activities held throughout the week such as dressing up in cultural attire and bringing in art crafts, music and books from different countries to "show and tell" amongst one another.
"My favorite thing was dressing up," said Kylie Deverick, another Arnn sixth-grader.
Baxter-Oakley commented that hosting such events annually helps to cultivate an understanding and appreciation of the cultures within the school and the community.
"We are a military school," said Geralde Deguzman, another sixth-grader, and Multicultural Day is when you show off your heritage; there is a whole bunch of traditions and cultures here at Arnn.
During the assembly, several students adorned native clothing from a country of their choice to recognize and celebrate the different cultures as they sang a song called "The Nations of the World" in front of their peers which included students, teachers and parents.
After an entertaining chicken dance performed by kindergarteners, Kylie and a few sixth-graders played the guitar to a rendition of a Spanish song; then Geralde and members from his family performed a traditional Filipino dance routine called Tinikling.
Several students enrolled in the Taekwondo Class with the Camp Zama SKIES Unlimited Program demonstrated moves, tricks and skills as part of the Korean culture.
Students from a neighboring Japanese elementary school, Sagamidai Elementary, were invited to participate in the Multicultural Day assembly.
The Sagamidai students demonstrated a formation uni-cycling performance, jump roping, Taiko drums and Japanese traditional fisherman dances.
Ruby said after spending the day learning about the different cultures through the various activities she participated in, she learned that each culture has their own customs and their own way of doing things.
Baxter-Oakley said it is important to recognize other cultures, particularly on a military base because of the many diverse cultures represented within a military community.
"It is important for children and adults to learn about diverse backgrounds so we can accept, respect, and celebrate one another."