February 25, 1999

Middlebury College Celebrates Vermont Higher Education Day with "InternationalFest!" for Local Children on Mar. 4

Fifth and sixth grade students, teachers and some helpful parents from Mary Hogan School spent the morning of Vermont's newly proclaimed Higher Education Day on campus participating in a program of activities hosted by international students and students with an international academic focus at Middlebury College on Thursday, Mar. 4.

In the great hall of the McCullough Student Center, about 25 college students put together a series of activity stations reflecting some aspect of their home countries or areas of study. The grade school children cycled through the activities in small groups--learning about different aspects of their larger world while interacting with the older students on a one-to-one basis.

Activities and learning sessions included the presentation and discussion of a series of originally-created maps of European border changes from 1914 to 1918; a photo and map display accompanied by a discussion of ecological considerations in the Amazon basin; and a Powerpoint presentation of different economic and environmental aspects of Kenya.

A participatory demonstration of Caribbean quadrille dancing was presented in full costume, and the younger children were encouraged to try on the colorful hats traditionally worn for the dance. A hands-on display of Malay clothing provided the grade school students the opportunity to explore their own creativity in the art of sarong tying as they learned about the process of batik, a traditional method for decorative printing of clothing used throughout Malaysia.

One activity helped Mary Hogan students to learn a series of introductory phrases in Russian and in Spanish, and another provided the opportunity to share their thoughts, and aspects of their own lives, with the older students in informal, small-group chat sessions.

Concluding the morning's program was a finale performance of traditional music and dance--folk dances from Mexico and Tibet in traditional costume; Colombian cumbia music and dancing in contemporary dance clothing; folk songs from the Ukraine accompanied by piano, and the South African National Anthem sung a capella in the language of the indigenous Xhosa people. With a six-foot map of Europe, smaller individual maps and sheets of translations in Russian, Spanish, and Xhosa for their notebooks, stickers of the Middlebury College panther, and happy faces, the Mary Hogan students returned to their classes munching on international cookies.

For more information about the InternationalFest!, contact Tucky Ceballos at 802-443-5629.