Students experience culture shock at World Language Fair

Mar 24 2012 - 8:16am

Images

Harold Zentz shows Jessica Allen where the German restaurant is at the World Language Fair at Weber High School in Pleasant View on Thursday.  The event lets junior high and high school students test their foreign language skills and learn about other cultures. (KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner)
Students from schools in Weber School District, as well as Ogden High School and InTech Collegiate High School in Logan, attend the World Language Fair at Weber High School in Pleasant View on Thursday. (KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner)
Dixon Ellis (left) and Brayden Mcgary demonstrate a dance in order to get their passports stamped at the Mexico booth during the World Language Fair at Weber High School in Pleasant View on Thursday. (KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner)
Elene Freystein plays the hostess and John Erekson plays the waiter at a German restaurant during the fair. (KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner)
Harold Zentz shows Jessica Allen where the German restaurant is at the World Language Fair at Weber High School in Pleasant View on Thursday.  The event lets junior high and high school students test their foreign language skills and learn about other cultures. (KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner)
Students from schools in Weber School District, as well as Ogden High School and InTech Collegiate High School in Logan, attend the World Language Fair at Weber High School in Pleasant View on Thursday. (KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner)
Dixon Ellis (left) and Brayden Mcgary demonstrate a dance in order to get their passports stamped at the Mexico booth during the World Language Fair at Weber High School in Pleasant View on Thursday. (KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner)
Elene Freystein plays the hostess and John Erekson plays the waiter at a German restaurant during the fair. (KERA WILLIAMS/Standard-Examiner)

PLEASANT VIEW -- Students across the Top of Utah traveled the world Thursday night. The bonus? They didn't have to leave the commons area of Weber High School.

More than 2,500 junior high and high school students, along with their families, attended the annual World Language Fair sponsored by Weber School District.

The fair has been running for at least 20 years in one form or another, said Kathleen Nye, curriculum supervisor for the district.

One teacher started it in his classroom 20 years ago, and the fair has changed and grown since then.

It has rotated between high schools in the district for the past eight years. Students from all junior highs and high schools in the district participate, as well as students from Ogden High School and InTech Collegiate High School in Logan.

Students visited booths, picking up passports featuring the language they are taking in school. Students could speak only that language to get their passports stamped. Booths showcased Chinese, Spanish, French, German and American Sign Language.

This is the second year Roy Junior High eighth-grader Kayleigh Webb has visited the fair -- and she wasn't disappointed.

She snacked on a churro from the Spanish food vendor as she and a friend looked at their passports. Attending the fair counted as a test in their Spanish class, and their passports needed at least eight stamps.

There was a dull roar in the school commons area as students danced, made videos and even participated in a culture bowl that mixed all of the languages together to test culture knowledge.

Students also crowded around food booths, where they could get anything from crepes and eclairs from France to bratwurst from Germany.

Many students also dressed in authentic clothing from the different countries.

Melanie Malan, a Weber High School teacher who helped organize the event, likes the opportunity the fair gives students to show off what they have learned in their foreign language elective. The event also lets parents know how well their children are learning the language.

In addition to the booths, students can compete in five categories to earn prizes and certificates.

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