Around the World in a Day

Prep’s first full-fledged International Day was a hit

The International Day setup in the gym.

International Day was celebrated at Prep on April 5. Fourteen booths representing fifteen  different foreign countries were set up in the gym (the threat of inclement weather forced them off of Patriot Avenue). At each booth, three students were dressed in traditional clothing that represented “their” country.

Food from the countries was available to sample at the booths, and students could listen to a short presentation about the country.  “Overall, it was very successful, but things got a bit hectic when twenty junior high kids were crowded around you and handing you passports to stamp,” said senior Sarah Riley Jicka, who worked in the Indonesia booth.

The schedule on April 5 was changed to let the students truly experience everything International Day had to offer. The classes were cut back five minutes shorter than usually to provide a long mid-day period for all the special activities. Additionally, there were no bells used during the school day.

Students watched one of three thirty-minute short foreign films (Tube Light Ke Chand from India, A Trip to the Moon from France, and The House of Small Cubes from Japan). Then, a student led discussion was held after the film. While the senior high students were watching their films, the junior high students were visiting the different booths in the gym. After fifty minutes, the students switched spots.

If students purchased an International Day t-shirt, they were allowed to wear it with jeans. Also, students who wanted to wear traditional clothing from one of the countries were able to with the approval of International Day organizer Ms. Jane Zhu.

All junior high students, and any interested senior high students, were given a special Jackson Prep “passport.” If a student visited all fourteen booths and got a stamp from each country on their passport, they were be eligible to enter their name into a drawing for prizes including gift cards to various ethnic restaurants, an International Day  t-shirt, some Japanese snacks, and Chinese games. Around 650 students entered completely stamped passports, and 28 students had their names drawn as winners during fifth period. One winner, senior Madeleine Porter, said, “”I’m surprised! There were so many names I didn’t think I’d get anything.”

A global success…that transcended time zones.

— Dr. Luke Nealey

In addition to the movies and the booths, many different types of food were be available for lunch on International Day, as the Dining Commons temporarily became a center of international dishes. Students were able to purchase a wristband and be able to sample four different ethnic cuisines served at different location in the Dining Commons. Student even had the opportunity to go back for seconds. Junior Jacob Beard says his favorite thing about International Day was the “bomb” food.

Cuisine from Germany, France, Mexico, and Philippines were available to sample. Valley Food employee Ms. Gloria Jones, also known as “Boo,” was the head of the Philippines food section. Ms. Jones, who is originally from the Philippines, hand-made all her food. On Monday, she started prepping her beef egg rolls and her barbeque pork sticks, also known as shish kabobs. Then, on Tuesday, Ms. Jones cooked her hand-made egg rolls. On the day of International Day, Ms. Jones stuffed her egg rolls and finished cooking her barbeque and chicken rice noodles.

Students and teachers crowded around the various food options, with some selections even running out before the end of the extended lunch period. Ms. Catherine Gray, a worker in the cafeteria, says, “We are already preparing for International Day’s food to be bigger and better next year.”

International Day was a student-driven event lead by senior Taylor Hawks. She enlisted in many groups to help make International Day as great as possible. Katie Hubacek, a sophomore, commented on Taylor’s work saying, “It was inspirational to see all of the students working together. Taylor did a wonderful job.”

Taylor herself said, “Overall, I was amazed at how well things went. Nothing really went wrong. I just hope everyone who came through the event learned something!”

Junior Russell Weathersby says his favorite thing about International Day was the artifacts from each country.

Senior high principal Dr. Luke Nealey called International Day “a global success…that transcended time zones.”

Coordinator Ms. Jane Zhu, who teaches Chinese at Prep, said after the day’s festivities were over, “I think it was awesome. It was very successful for the school, and I think it was the first step for us to bring diversity in and out of our school, and hopefully students will have a different view of this global village.”

Ms. Zhu said that next year she’d love to double the size and have enough booths to fill the entire gym.