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Love of Language Brings all Learners Together

Youngsters were invited to discover the world at the Massapequa School District’s 19th annual World Language Festival on March 14. The event was held at Massapequa High School and featured activities celebrating the five languages taught in the district – American Sign Language, French, German, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.

The World Language classrooms were transformed were transformed to make visitors feel like they were in other countries. Hundreds of students from the elementary schools and middle school attended and took part in activities planned and carried out by high school world language students. Every guest received a passport, which they could get stamped as they visited each room.

To celebrate Spanish language and culture, students could make Ojos de Dios, a traditional Mexican craft made with wooden sticks and yarn, learn about the animals of Costa Rica and explore the Amazon jungle. The French classroom featured crafts from various French-speaking countries and regions. One popular activity was decorating a Mardi Gras mask.

It was an evening of song and dance in the German classroom. Students could learn how to dance the traditional “Schuhplattler” and play songs with German handbells. Mandarin students showed their younger peers how to use Chinese yo-yos, eat with chopsticks and draw Mandarin symbols.

In the ASL classroom, children made Hawaiian leis by spelling out “I Love You” in sign language. High school students also taught guests how to sign different types of weather.

The National Art Honor Society did face painting in the lobby, while the students from the World Language clubs turned the cafeterias into an international food court. It was a popular spot for children and adults who wanted to sample some traditional cuisine.

William Anderson, curriculum associate of the World Language Department, said it was a great turnout for an event that is highly anticipated each year. He commended the high school world language teachers and students for their effort to make the night a success.

“They love to showcase the languages and the cultures,” he said. “We love opening our classrooms to the community, as our goal is share with parents and students the importance of being bilingual.”

Stacy Incardona, one of three FLES educators in the district who teaches Spanish in grades 3-5, said it is a great opportunity for elementary school students to see the world language options they have in middle school and high school.

“The festival is really for them,” she said. “They enjoy experiencing the different languages and cultures, and interacting with our high school world language students.”