First International Fair encourages students to explore countries

Junior Caitlin Ellithorpe puts a henna design on a student’s hand at the India booth.

Ryan Chang, Assistant Online Editor

Colorful flags, exotic artifacts and plates overflowing with food and drink samples from around the world bordered the Great Lawn at the first ever International Fair. 

The fair, organized by International Club, took place on Jan. 24 during the Assembly period. Students created posters, which included fun facts and trivia, about different countries. 

“Our main goal was to showcase the great diversity of countries in our community,” International Club sponsor Aline Means said. “A lot of people don’t realize that we are such a diverse community, and International Fair was a way to help people appreciate that diversity.”

In previous years, International Club organized an International Day, which showcased only one country and involved an assembly. Parents played a large role in organizing that event. When organizing International Fair, junior and International Club co-leader Sophia Kontos wanted to make the event more student-driven.

“We ended up with 16 different booths, most of which were run by multiple people,” Kontos said. “It was great to see such a big interest in the event.”

Some students who worked on booths enjoyed the opportunity to explore their own cultures and backgrounds.

“I’m half Lebanese, but my mother doesn’t talk about Lebanese culture much,” junior Juliette Draper said. “Making the presentation helped me learn about a side of my background that I haven’t explored before.”

For others, International Fair was a way to expand their horizons.

“I’m really into travel, so helping make the China booth was super interesting,” junior Josephine Dodd said. “I’m not Chinese, so being in a group with people who knew more about China brought a unique perspective and helped me learn more about the country.”

Some students who attended having no idea what to expect also said they were pleasantly surprised — enough so to get involved in future fairs.

“I really enjoyed eating foods and seeing the posters that represented everyone’s different cultures,” freshman Bailey Maierson said, adding that her favorite was the Korean barbecue-style chicken.

“I would consider doing a booth next year because I think it was cool how everyone got to bring different foods.”

Kontos and Means consider the first International Fair a success.

“It was great to have so many people there to learn about all these different countries and celebrate their different cultures,” Kontos said. “That’s a very powerful thing.”