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.