WARREN, NJ - January and February snowfalls did not stop Angelo L. Tomaso School from celebrating diversity at its International Day held on Feb. 7. While past years focused on ethnic cuisine and traditions, this year’s goal was to introduce the culture from both China and India.
PTO President Darleen Fenton, with the help of Tian He, Sumedha Kotasthane, and Priom Patel, organized a group of parent volunteers who were eager and able to transport the children from Warren to the continent of Asia. Each grade level attended a variety of sessions highlighting the two cultures.
In the morning, children watched an interactive PowerPoint slideshow, traditional dancing and sport, and had the opportunity to view a display of unique items indicative to the countries. Students viewed world maps to assist in comparing and contrasting the location, size, and population of China and India, with the United States.
Many youngsters recognized the majestic Taj Mahal and impressive Great Wall of China as they learned amazing facts about their construction and history. The students learned about cricket, traditional foods and spices, as well as festive holidays like Diwali and Holi.
Did you know the button, Yoga, and chess are rooted in India? Students enjoyed learning about the Panda, Kong-Fu, and how Chinese food in China differs from that in America. Having recently celebrated the new year, Year of the Horse, it was fascinating to learn that the specific foods eaten are symbolic of wealth (dumplings), health (rice cakes) and plenty (fish).
Each presentation concluded with the children participating in a Chinese Dragon Dance.
Midday, the guest speakers were available to answer questions at each lunch period. The children were intrigued by many of the cultural items on display as well. They were allowed hands-on time at lunch to play with the traditional toys, learn how to use chop sticks, have their names written in Hindu and see a Chinese artist in action.
In the afternoon, students were treated to a traditional Indian attire fashion parade. Additionally, there was a special assembly, The Art of Chinese Dance, by a professional Chinese dance troop. What a hit. Thanks to Art teacher Donna Pellagrino, the students had created many colorful Indian rangoli and Chinese lanterns which added to the décor of the event.