LOTE celebrates National Foreign Language Week

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Seniors Josh Curtis and Jesse Epstein, junior Max Miranda, and senior Kim Winter dress in togas to celebrate Latin Day.

Adi Levin and Caroline Katz, Staff Writers

Throughout the week of March 9, students, administrators, and staff, had the opportunity to celebrate National Foreign Language Week, arranged by Schreiber’s LOTE department.  Italian, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Latin, respectively, were each designated a certain day of the week, allowing everyone to express their appreciation of the various cultures that foreign languages offer.  During 4-1 and 4-2, people milling about in the lobby were encouraged to participate in the different activities and contributions from every language.  All week long, coloring pages were set out on the tables during the afternoon, displaying elements from each language. From the wide selection of foods to try to the different activities to participate in, there was a variety of entertainment for everybody.

To begin the week, Italian students from every grade worked together to create a colorful display of Italian culture on Monday.  Popular Italian music by artists like Jovanotti and Laura Pausini played on a stereo player in the lobby as many passers-by  stopped to look at the array of activities on the tables. Some students eagerly grabbed Nutella sandwiches, while others pondered how many “confetti,” or Jordan almonds, were in a large jar.  The winner would receive a five-dollar Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, according to morning announcements.

“We did Venetian masks, sold espresso, and made nutella sandwiches.  The kids were super involved, and they definitely rose to the occasion. It’s a great way for everyone to participate in world culture,” said Italian teacher Ms. Anna Valentino.

Colorful student-drawn signs displayed messages such as “Donate to your favorite foreign language!” and “Caffè- $1.”  Teachers and students alike were very enthusiastic with how the first day of National Foreign Language Week turned out.

On the following day, March 10, students celebrated Chinese culture. Many people were drawn to the central table, where they could find out their Chinese name based on its pronunciation, then have it drawn in customary Chinese brush calligraphy.  Others were eager to sample Chinese treats, such as berry flakes.

“I helped sell tea and snacks, and it was a great send-off for the Chinese program, which won’t be running next year,” said sophomore Andrew Falzone.

Glowing red lanterns adorned the lobby, where a number of booths and tables were set up. Another highlight of Chinese Day was the chopstick competition, in which students had to transfer a ping-pong ball from one container to another using chopsticks held in their non-dominant hand.

“We got to show everyone our Chinese culture, and showed traditional Chinese dress.  It was very fun!,” said freshman Sunny Lin.

French Day, held on March 12, allowed students to embrace their inner Francophile.  Students enjoyed baguettes with chocolate, a common French snack, and danced to music by Belgian pop singer Stromae.  In addition, people lined up to have their faces painted and show their French pride.  While some students took quizzes about French language and culture, others guessed the amount of toy cars in two glass jars. The coloring pages were especially popular, as students crowded around a table to color a picture of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, or the Parisian metro.

“I stopped by during lunch. The baguettes were delicious, and it was great to hear modern music instead of the classics that are often associated with world cultures,” said senior Amy Levinson.

The next day, students participated in Spanish Day.

“It really focused on the language’s cultural uniqueness,” said Ms. Carol Ferrante, head of the LOTE department. “There were tattoos, face painting, and coloring sheets of typical cultural aspects.”

Students clamored for a taste of the churros available during Spanish Day. They were such a success that the treats were all gone by 4-2 that day.

To conclude the week, Latin students got together to demonstrate the unique culture of the Roman world. Latin may be a dead language, but the activities held on Friday afternoon were far from dead. “Gladiators” held mock battles, complete with foil helmets and cardboard swords, in classrooms all over the school, and many students witnessed an animated reenactment of Julius Caesar in their very classrooms.

“I got all of my friends to come and help me, and we ran around to all these classrooms and the library. We rushed in and did a mock stabbing of Caesar with paper daggers I had made. I had planned it out carefully because we tried it last year, and it was fun, but I wanted to add to it and make it better this year,” said senior Jesse Epstein.

Although toga-wearing students burst into classes throughout the day, most of the Latin Day festivities took place during 4-1 and 4-2. Students were able to find out what their zodiac signs are, and made coloring pages according to their star signs.

“There are so many things to do; you can get a tattoo, look at the Roman Forum model, and even take a Latin quiz,” said Latin teacher Ms. Elizabeth Griffin.

This year’s Foreign Language Week was well-received by many students and teachers.

“It is a wonderful week which is enjoyed by the entire school community, and is a great way for Schreiber to celebrate and showcase the languages that are taught here,” said Ms. Ferrante.

Throughout the week, people were able to make donations to their favorite foreign language, enabling the LOTE department to hold future events. The celebration highlighted each language’s culture in the span of one short week, allowing for an unforgettable cultural experience.