Bow students explore cultures at high school World Fair

Sophomore Kailyn Gosselin poses with a stuffed giraffe, the official animal of Equatorial Guinea, which she is representing at the World Fair at Bow High School on Friday.

Sophomore Kailyn Gosselin poses with a stuffed giraffe, the official animal of Equatorial Guinea, which she is representing at the World Fair at Bow High School on Friday. SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN—

Sophomores Melinda Becirovic and Phoebe Abdulah share facts about Bulgaria on Friday at the World Fair at Bow High School. 

Sophomores Melinda Becirovic and Phoebe Abdulah share facts about Bulgaria on Friday at the World Fair at Bow High School.  SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN—

Sophomores Lily Rayne and Brigid Kelly with the Argentina flag painted on their faces at the World Fair at Bow High School on Friday

Sophomores Lily Rayne and Brigid Kelly with the Argentina flag painted on their faces at the World Fair at Bow High School on Friday SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN—

Sophomores Lily Rayne and Brigid Kelly with the Argentina flag painted on their faces at the World Fair at Bow High School on Friday

Sophomores Lily Rayne and Brigid Kelly with the Argentina flag painted on their faces at the World Fair at Bow High School on Friday SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN—

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 02-02-2024 4:21 PM

The rhythmic sounds of music from different countries blended with the aroma of French pastries and homemade beef empanadas at Bow High School, transforming the school’s halls into a global street festival of sorts.

Among a colorful display of national flags adorning tables and corridor walls during the school’s World Fair, Brigid Kelly and her friend Lilly Rayne went one step further to show the blue and white colors of the Argentina flag by painting it on their faces.

Kelly took her enthusiasm further, painting the statement “The Land of Silver” across her forehead, representing the spirit of Argentina.

“It was a mixture of fun and stressful,” Kelly said Friday, detailing how she prepared for the big day with her friends for almost two months. “Now I know a lot about Argentina, which has been a very good learning experience. It was definitely interesting.”

The World Fair is an event for all 10th graders and 11th graders who are taking a class called “America Beyond the Wall” where the students pick a nation out of a hat at random and learn about its history, culture, economy, and current issues.

While this event has been going on in Bow for 20 years, it’s the first one after COVID-19.

“It took us forever to get it back because of all those things related to COVID,” said social studies teacher Derek DeAngelis. “The kids are all excited. The neat part is you got all these parents and people in the community to show up today and say thank you for bringing it back.”

Tables with presentations from 130 nations were set up on both sides of the school hallways, with each student ready to share what they learned about their country with anyone who passed by.

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Representing Bulgaria, sophomores Melinda Becirovic and Phoebe Abdulah set up their table showcasing a traditional coffee set symbolizing the country’s caffeinated culture and a plate of Lokoum, a traditional sweet made from wheat starch and nuts.

“It’s really interesting to get a sense of other cultures, backgrounds and their history,” said Abdulah. “An environment like this, like going around and being able to talk with other kids and learn things you didn’t really know is great.”

This unique opportunity allows students to learn about other countries but also encourages them to explore new activities, such as cooking and baking while honing their organizational skills.

The most exciting part for students is experimenting with new cuisines, but it’s not all about eating. It has forged a unique bonding experience among students, said Kelly.

“It did a good job of building community within the school,” Kelly said. “I feel like sometimes we feel a lot divided and this gave us an opportunity to talk to middle schoolers who came and who we haven’t talked to.”