TAMPA — The basketball court at the Montessori House Day School has the usual free throw lines and half court markers, but today, there’s something that looks a little different.
There is a world map laid across the court, serving as a reminder of the school’s diversity. Holiday themes and diversity were recently blended when the school celebrated International Day on Dec. 6. Students were asked to wear clothing and bring food from the lands that meant the most to them.
For Andrew Burns, the grandson of Montessori Principal Charlene Burns, it was Asia. He wore a Chinese outfit including common headwear. He was more than happy to point out that the Chinese invented ice cream more then 2,000 years ago.
Fourth-grader Armando Destrade represented Hawaii, although some thought he looked more like a University of Southern California trojan. As for culinary treats, Destrade brought in a dish of pineapple and fish. Andrew brought in fortune cookies and ice cream.
It was an event that helped the kids learn that the holidays are different all over the world.
“We learned a lot,” said Ishaan Patel, a third-grader originally from India. “It was fun. I brought in some bread and it was really great. I like learning about other cultures.”
Hailey Debrunner brought in Easter egg bread to represent Italy. She made it herself and it is a mixture of pasta, meatballs, bread, and hard-boiled eggs. For Christmas, her family will serve the typical Italian dinner of seven fish.
“It’s a typical Italian dinner,” she said. When asked if there would be any octopus at the table, she smiled and said she didn’t think so. “We don’t eat octopus. That sounds weird.”
Mia represented Switzerland, the land of chocolate.
“I thought it would be fun,” said Mia, who was dressed like a Swiss Miss. “There’s a lot of Nestle’s chocolate in Switzerland and I like chocolate. It was fun.”
The kids sang songs and some performed the “Juba Jive” dance. More than 20 countries were represented and plenty of parents showed up and helped their kids with their outfits.
The kids learned a lot about different cultures, religions and traditions.
“It was fun and I found out about things I didn’t know,” Hailey said. “We are all different but we are all the same.”