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Global Leaders partner school Global Festival culture display
Global Education

Celebrating Unity and Diversity at Marvin B. Smith

Marvin B. Smith Elementary School in Burlington, North Carolina, recently transformed into a vibrant representation of global culture and unity. On Wednesday, March 20, 2024, the school hosted a joyful Global Festival that not only showcased its commitment to fostering global connections and intercultural understanding, but also highlighted the importance of nurturing the skills, or global competencies, necessary to thrive in our diverse world.

A World of Flavors and Colors

As soon as visitors set foot on the school’s property, they were immersed in an experience that appealed to all of their senses and spanned continents. Food trucks offering treats from around the globe, lined the entrance, providing a delicious welcome to all attendees. The school hallways were transformed into a colorful gallery, decorated with student art projects that reflected the regions of the world which the students studied. The intricate weavings and dot art inspired by Aboriginal culture projects told the story of Australia’s rich heritage, demonstrating just one example of the students’ deep engagement with their subjects.

A Journey Through Continents

For the festival, each part of the school was reimagined into a celebration of a different continent, offering an opportunity for attendees to explore the world. In the auditorium, the festive spirit was contagious, with parents and community members hosting informative stations. These stations provided a glimpse into various cultures and global competencies, from the samples of delicious Turkish baklava accompanied by discussions of Turkey’s Nobel laureate to the traditions of Iran, offering attendees a richer understanding of the world’s tapestry of cultures.

A standout moment was the Chinese fan dance, beautifully performed by students who crafted their fans in art class while also learning the traditional choreography with their music teacher. Additionally, the festival featured a dual language spelling bee, demonstrating the bilingual talents of students in the dual language program and underscoring the importance of linguistic proficiency in understanding and engaging with the global community.

Explore our hashtag #UnitingOurWorld to see more of what teachers and schools in the Participate Learning Network are doing.

Fostering Global Connections

At the heart of the festival was the strong sense of community support, evidenced particularly by the Parent Teacher Organization’s (PTO) innovative global map. This map allowed students to pin and string connections to their cultural heritage, creating a dynamic and enlightening piece of art that symbolized the growing global connections within the Marvin B. Smith community. Families were also encouraged to contribute to this living example of cultures by sharing artifacts from their own family traditions, further enriching the festival’s theme of interconnectedness and cultural pride.

Reflecting on Our Shared Humanity

The Global Festival at Marvin B. Smith Elementary was more than just an exhibition of global cultures; it was a testament to the school’s dedication to preparing students to be global citizens. Through art, dance, language, and food, the festival highlighted the importance of understanding, appreciating, and celebrating the diversity that enriches our world. It reminded us that in our increasingly interconnected global community, fostering intercultural understanding and global competencies isn’t just beneficial—it’s essential.

Participate Learning has proudly partnered with Marvin B. Smith Elementary School since 2009. This partnership began with dual language immersion, and in 2015 the school launched its official global focus, weaving together its commitment to language learning and creating the next generation of globally minded, career-ready students. If your district or school is interested in preparing your students for their future careers through action-driven learning, contact us to learn more

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