Penn Manor students celebrate their heritage through food

    Students at two Penn Manor schools recently celebrated their heritage with food.

    Penn Manor High School students got to share the foods of their native countries with fellow students, teachers and staff during the third annual Multicultural Day, held May 2 in the high school gymnasium.

    On May 9, Eshleman Elementary School held its World Food Fair, featuring foods from 17 different countries, including Bhutan, Eritrea, Brazil, Nicaragua, Nepal and Hungary.

   Students and their family members dressed in native garb and displayed maps, flags and other symbols of the countries they represented.

   The event was established 13 years ago to celebrate the cultures of Eshleman students and families and expose community members to traditional food and dress from around the world.

   For the high school event, students prepared foods from the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Nepal, Nigeria, Mexico and Puerto Rico to share with the school community. Several students donned traditional garb as part of the celebration.

    In order to sample the food, students and staff members had to learn to say a common phrase in the language of the country represented. In addition to preparing the foods, students created colorful displays about their countries and talked about some of the geographic features and traditions of their native lands.

    The event is the culminating project for the school’s Multicultural Club, which was established three years ago by Etsub Tolossa, a Penn Manor senior from Ethiopia. Club advisors are Penn Manor foreign language teachers Katharine Rodriguez and Nadine Smith.

   Etsub started the club “to provide a platform for students to share their backgrounds, their stories and their cultures, as well as to learn from each other and embrace their culture and heritage,” she said. 

    “America is a product of different countries and nations, and the club helps us teach others about the many cultures that we’re seeing in our classes and community.”

    About 325 Penn Manor School District students are from families that speak 24 different languages at home.