Yancey students unified through cultural experience

Apr. 19, 2013 @ 04:49 PM

A cultural event united teachers, students and parents around themes of world travel Thursday night at L.B. Yancey Elementary School.

The offering of songs, dancing and tastes from eight named nations, plus Africa, and the state of North Carolina was activity number 12 for the school’s yearlong Wild About Reading agenda.

More than 100 students and parents took part, starting with a curriculum focus in the individual classrooms.

L.B. Yancey Principal Clarence Hicks said he was overjoyed to see so many parents at school with their children.

“We were very pleased with the turnout,” he said. “It was good to see them all, and see them at our curriculum night so they could hear more about the education happening here.”

Assistant Principal Lanisha Daye said curriculum priorities parents learned about included assessments and tests, and the fluency, phonics and comprehension emphasis of the reading campaign that focuses on younger grades.

The business portion done, it was time for a celebration, including display tables in the gym area and fashion, dance and culturally popular songs in the multi-purpose stage area.

“We have come to all the sporting, basketball events, and soccer, but this is a first,” said Ignacio Cruz. His stepchildren Denilson, Alessandro and Sabina attend L.B. Yancey.

“It was a surprise,” he added. “It is surprising to see all of these. They (the children) showed me the displays and we learned about the countries.”

One of the display “destinations” showed photos and artifacts of the Philippines, with teachers Fe McCoy, Maria Vennie Williams, and on-loan for the evening from Clarke Elementary, Rolly Quizo. Each explained more about their country of origin.

“I feel proud and happy to be a part of this,” said Quizo, a science and math teacher at Clarke. “Part of the education need is global awareness. This is one way we can make that positive for the students.”

“We learn how to live together through events like this,” said Williams, who teaches special education.

McCoy said showing how people dress in the Philippines and showing other artifacts and historical illustrations hopefully helps children see her country of origin as bigger and more real than a tiny shape on a map or globe.

Steven Williams, with his daughter Sydiahiah, said the interactions with other L.B. Yancey families were a very positive result of the evening.

“It was good to mingle with other parents and their kids,” he said, “and I hadn’t met (Sydiahiah’s) teacher before. It is a very social event.”

Lee Lassiter said he appreciated the event as a way to be a part of what his children, Ariel and Joshua, were learning about the world.

“You get to visualize the countries,” he said. “They don’t get to do things like this every day.”

Other nations on the “passport” itinerary included Romania, Jamaica, Russia, India, Mexico, China and Great Britain.

Hicks said the cultural night event was the sixth of an annual tradition for the school.

“Each year, we try to do something significantly different, to get more of our parents in here,” Hicks said. “This year, there are many more cultural foods, and we had teachers more involved with our displays.”

Coming up for the Wild About Reading agenda for L.B. Yancey is Student Appreciation Day on Thursday, the quiz bowl May 3, and later toward the end of the school year will be a pizza party and a trip to the zoo.

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.