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Language Festival is a Journey Around the Globe

Hundreds of elementary students from the district experienced cultures from around the world at the 16th annual World Language Festival on March 4 at Massapequa High School. Activities were coordinated by high school students from American Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish classes.

Each young visitor received a passport to have stamped as they visited 14 different rooms. Students from the Mandarin Chinese program taught their elementary peers how to play with a Chinese yo-yo and how to use chopsticks. In the Italian room, children listened to cultural music and learned about the different regions of Italy.

A photo station with French expressions was a popular spot for guests. Students learned fun facts about Paris and made crafts representing other French-speaking regions in the world. Children heard German music, decorated sugar cookies and participated in a fortune telling game using gummy bears from Haribo, a German candy company. There was also German dancing in the gymnasium.

“We wanted them to have a uniquely German experience and remember the fun they had in the German room,” senior Christian S. said.  

Several rooms were devoted to Spanish language and culture. In one room, all of the activities were based on animals. Children learned the Spanish names of different animals, which they matched to pictures. At other stations they could play Spanish vocabulary games, make Day of the Dead T-shirts and sing songs.

A cultural celebration would not be complete without food. Children and their parents visited the international food court in the cafeterias with entrees and desserts provided by the world language clubs. One of the culinary arts classroom featured international cooking demonstrations, where elementary and high school students worked together to make quesadilla, crepes and pretzels.


American Sign Language students ran an escape room, learning facts about the deaf culture and then navigating the language to break out. Members of the National Art Honor Society did face painting and Berner Middle School’s World Language Club celebrated the four languages offered there as students could dance the Macarena, create a Mardi Gras craft, make an origami animal and play a memory game in German.