Northbridge High Celebrates Cultural Diversity

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Foreign language students at Northbridge High School decorate a wall in the lobby with foreign language terms and foreign flags. Photo Credit: Deborah Gauthier
A wall in the lobby with foreign language terms and foreign flags. Photo Credit: Deborah Gauthier

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – On Friday afternoon, Northbridge High School foreign language students decorated cafeteria, foyer and stairwell walls with words – most of them foreign and meant to teach.

How do you say hello in Swahili? The answer is on a wall. How do you say thank you in Chinese? Check a wall.

Susan Thulin, Spanish teacher and chair of the school’s World Languages Department, said posters will include common expressions and flags that represent many cultures. Teachers were also asked to hang flags outside of their classrooms that represent their nationalities.

March 4-8 is National Foreign Language Week, meant to celebrate cultural diversity and promote the study of foreign language, and special events are planned all week, Thulin said.

“Our department has created warm-ups that inform students how studying a language can help in other disciplines. We are asking teachers to share these with their first block classes.

“We will begin each day by playing music and asking a trivia question at the end of the morning announcements. Students or classes can respond to the question and send their answer to Thulin.

Special events include a cooking demonstration on Tuesday by Chef Adam Batchelder at 2 p.m. which begins with a presentation.

On Thursday there will be a Mardis Gras celebration by the World Language Club and on Friday, the group Inca Son will perform at 12:50 p.m. in the auditorium.

In addition to school-wide events, all foreign language students will participate in a variety of cultural activities in their classes. In addition, they can choose to take part in a poster and essay contest sponsored by the Massachusetts Foreign Language Association.

During the week, Spanish students will research and study the Peruvian culture which will end with a performance by Inca Son, an award-winning group of Peruvian musicians and dancers that travel to schools, universities, and communities to present the Andean culture.

The presentation was made possible by the Northbridge Education Foundation.

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