McHenry High School students, staff and parents traveled through different countries without leaving the West Campus gymnasium thanks to the recent World’s Fair hosted by cultural studies classes.
More than 50 seniors from both the East and West campuses teamed up to exhibit authentic displays to represent Mexico, Greece, India, Germany, Ireland, Brunei, Madagascar and more to give everyone a taste of life in another land.
Each of the 27 booths featured information about the respective country’s customs and traditions, economics, religion, language and other elements of culture.
The students in honors cultural studies classes acted as guides and offered plenty of information, plus a taste of authentic cuisine to students, staff and parents. The annual World’s Fair event is a culmination of a semester studying countries, including writing research papers and tourist commercials. The World’s Fair also featured live demonstrations of dances, cooking or popular pastimes from each country.
Natalie Simek, social science teacher, said students had to use factual information from verifiable sources to capture the true culture of each country and avoid stereotypes. The event is meant to recreate the historic World’s Fair events from the 19th and 20th centuries when countries came together in often memorable ways.
“The World’s Fair was an opportunity for countries from all over the world to showcase their latest scientific and technological innovations, their impressive art and architecture and other aspects of their unique culture,” said Simek, who coordinated the event with fellow teachers Keleigh Foreman, East Campus social science teacher, and Sumayya Qudrat, East Campus English teacher.
Seniors who participated said that they worked for several hours setting up their displays in the gymnasium the night before. Students also said that they were glad to share their knowledge with others.
“I really enjoy doing this,” said Kami Schneider, an East Campus senior who partnered with East senior Brian March to showcase Italy.
Students made much of what they displayed and handed out to fair-goers. For example, East seniors Cheyenne Nelson and Morgan Lawrence made Brunei flags to give visitors, while West seniors Alexis Marrotta and Carolann McLaughlin made their Madagascar-inspired skirts.
McLaughlin said people were positive about visiting the World’s Fair, noting, “They like learning about different cultures.”