Glendale: Bridging cultures at Edison

Glendale News Press
LATimes.com
Jan 20 2005

Bridging cultures at Edison

Elementary school students, staff learn about each other’s heritages
during Culture Week.

By Darleene Barrientos, News-Press and Leader

SOUTHWEST GLENDALE – Studying a vibrant red “han bok,” or traditional
Korean dress, 5-year-old Rebeca Olmedo pointed it out and gestured to
a pendant on it.

“I like the color and that thing right here,” Rebeca said, referring
to the black “norigae,” or Korean knot pendant hanging down the
center of the dress.

The dress was one of dozens of items from several countries and
cultures displayed Wednesday in a classroom at Edison Elementary
School. The room was the school’s makeshift Culture Museum this week,
housing dolls, fabrics, flags, clothes, knick knacks, currency,
pictures and other items from countries like Korea, Armenia, Iran,
Mexico, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Laos. The school is
celebrating Culture Week, a celebration of the diversity among the
school’s staff and students.

Culture Week at Edison began last year and was a success, Principal
Linda Conover said. It allowed the student body and the teachers to
celebrate and embrace their cultures. The student population at
Edison is about 47% Armenian descent, 35% Latino with the remainder
made up of students of Russian, El Salvadoran, Filipino, Korean, Thai
and East Indian ancestry.

“I’d say we’re diverse, and I think our staff is pretty diverse,
too,” Conover said.

The events at Edison began Tuesday with an opening ceremony,
featuring parents, teachers and students dressed in traditional
clothing that represents their culture or background.

Sixth-grade student Ashini Patel, 11, who is of Indian descent,
wanted to wear a pair of bright yellow pants that flare out and a top
designed with embroidery.

“But I missed my chance,” Ashini said. “I thought I could wear it any
day this week.”

The school is also learning about different cultures through
workshops, including arts and crafts, luncheons and parent
presentations.

Culture Week is an event that has made an impression on the student
body, Conover said.

“I saw the effects of the one last year,” she said. “Students would
come up and talk about the activities they were involved in during
culture week and would make sure we knew how much they enjoyed it. It
was wonderful for them to see their parents come in and talk to their
class or share food from their cultures. It gave students a sense of
pride about where they came from.”

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