EVANSTON, Ill., — On March 19th, the Dawes Elementary gymnasium was packed with sights, sounds, smells and tastes from around the globe, as families shared food, traditions and artifacts from their countries of origin.

The annual Multicultural Night Celebration sponsored by the Dawes PTA had its largest cultural representation yet this year with over 25 different cultures represented (up from 18 last year) from Pan-Africa to Wales.

Students, equipped with passports to the world, learned origami in Japan, saw their name written in Hebrew in Israel, colored Easter eggs in the Ukraine, learned a traditional hat game in Peru, and of course tasted mouth-watering foods and exotic beverages from around the globe. The evening ended with cultural arts performances in the auditorium. Dawes students brought down the house with a Russian dance they learned in the Blaze the Floor after school program. Guest artists from Evanston Escola De Samba shared their passion for Brazilian samba music with their 20 plus member drum line, and let the students try out their instruments on the stage.

“It was an extraordinary turnout this year, the energy in the room was palpable. Many of our students dressed in traditional clothing and served food at their family’s culture booth. Their pride is infectious, and becomes a source of school-wide pride, at least for this one special evening” said co-coordinator Stephanie Kulke.

Dawes Principal Karen Bradley said “This event is one of my favorite events of the year, and really showcases what makes Dawes special.”

Cultures and countries represented included Pan Africa (Kellee and Chyanne Evans); Belize (Katee Evans); Chile (Aguirre family); China (Karen and Molly Davis); Colombia (Niño family); England (Pallier-Holland and Hoather families); Germany (Reiniger-Vest family); Ghana (Kofi Anaman); Guatamala (Escobar family); Haiti (Myrna and Honor Weinman); Israel (Grodzin family); Italy (Daly-Short family); Jamaica and Lebanon (Sutherland family); Japan (Rika Seito and Yumi Hasselbring); Mexico (Jimenez, Tamayo, Patino, Canchola and Gomez families); Peru (Dadny Linutia); Philippines (Campbell-Spies and Magno families); Poland (Ziolkowski family); Rural U.S. (Kulke-Wilson family); Russia (Anna Kovalenko and Alisa Kondratyev); Scotland (Kennedy Shenberg); Sweden (Heffernan and Hovland families); Ukraine (Lisa Martinez) and Wales (Marie Ney).

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