GOLD HILL – The third grade students at Morgan Elementary School recently explored some of the cultures that can be found around the world as well as here in Rowan County.
Students gathered, ate and learned about the cultures of other countries, from Greece to Vietnam
Third-grade teacher Rhonda Miller said the Dec. 15 event was the culmination of a three-week study of different cultures in the community. The school first did this in 2019, but in 2020 it came to a halt due to the pandemic.
In class, the children learned about the countries chosen by the pupils and each learned about the food, the language, the ways of celebrating, the arts and the religious traditions of the country. They presented their findings in class, while at home they created dolls reflecting the cultures they were studying and poster board presentations to display at the event.
The students performed dances and songs and presented works of art representative of their chosen culture. Parents also brought foods representing the ethnic cuisines of the cultures.
“It was just a fun climactic activity where we all got together,” Miller said.
Miller said a number of East Asian cultures were represented, including Thailand, China and Japan. Miller said a few students also introduced the culture of the Cherokee Native Americans.
“Every teacher started with American culture because that’s what most kids know about, and then we kind of expanded into some of the cultures that exist here locally,” Miller said.
In the first year the event took place, it was held in classrooms, but this year it took up the whole gymnasium.
Miller noted that most of the food was purchased in the county, either from local restaurants and stores.
“Just exposing these kids to other people and other cultures outside of their little world was something we wanted them to experience,” Miller said, adding that part of the state’s curriculum teaches other cultures.
Student Reagan Hatcher chose Greece to study. Some of the things she learned during her studies is that ancient Greece had the first registered democracy, the Olympics started there, and Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in the country. His favorite part was the food from different cultures.
“That was the fun part,” Hatcher said.
Britt Hatcher, Reagan’s mother, said it was a great experience for students and parents to immerse themselves in other cultures.
“Now when we’re outside she’s like, ‘Oh look, there’s a Greek restaurant and they’re doing that,’” Britt said. “It really opened her eyes to something bigger than her and bigger than North Carolina.”
Britt said she hopes the event inspires Reagan to continue learning things outside of what she already knows.
“It opens up her world to things bigger than herself,” Britt said, adding that she hopes Reagan gets the chance to travel and develop what she’s learning in school.