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District 304 students have fun ‘internationally’

Mill Creek Elementary School celebrates third Who’s Your Neighbor Day

GENEVA – Students at Mill Creek Elementary School in Geneva got a dose of global perspective Friday during the school’s third annual “Who’s Your Neighbor Day.”

This year, students explored how people in other countries have fun by highlighting popular sports and recreational activities, such as making and flying kites.

Principal George Petmezas said last year’s theme centered on understanding the differences between cultures.

“It’s important to know we’re part of a larger world and society,” he said. “Understanding different cultures is absolutely important in understanding how we fit into a larger world.”

Older students were paired with younger students as they explored the day’s activities, which included presentations by Geneva Middle School North students, a movie and an all-school assembly to watch an African dance troupe. Each student got a “passport” that they had stamped after they “visited” a country.

Kristin Briner, a seventh-grader at Geneva Middle School North, put together a presentation about Jamaica. She said she told younger students who watched her presentation about how Jamaicans enjoy reggae music, such as Bob Marley, and some of their favorite sports include track, cricket and soccer.

A shoe drive coincided with the Who’s Your Neighbor Day, and students have spent the past month collecting hundreds of pairs of shoes. The school plans to donate them to Soles4Souls, an organization that recycles shoes for people in need.

Another student, who made a presentation about Chile, said dominoes and cards are popular games there, along with soccer.

At an all-school assembly later that morning, students learned African dance moves with the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago.

Petmezas said teachers have been adding international themes to their curriculum throughout the year.

“One of the best parts about putting on an event like this is the cooperation of all the staff,” he said. “This has been a topic in classrooms since the start of the school year.”

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