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World Market spotlights cultures, live entertainment

In order to carry on the annual World Market experience, seventh grade students arrived to school early to set up various booths representing countries from around the world, in the Ground Zero Quad, April 28.

Leading up to the event, they learned the history of the Spice Route and the Silk Road. To recreate what they learned, groups were assigned a country and given the task of representing it in their own way. Students set up their booths for the campus to enjoy items and food from countries including Arabia, Egypt, Paris, Japan, China and the Spice Islands.

According to former seventh grade history teacher Ellen King, who began the tradition of World Market five years ago, each group of students brings a new element to the project through hard work.

“I think they’ve done a fabulous job,” King said. “The booths looked as good as any year in the past. The kids were all in costume and had great attitudes. They’ve had a good attitude on the whole project.”

Students from elementary, junior high and high school who visited World Market were able to purchase tickets for bartering.

“We had a lot more tickets than we’ve ever done in the past,” King said. “It seems to have gained momentum over the years. Each year we earn more than the previous, so I’m anticipating [an increase] this time.”

The experience of world market involves costumes, food and merchandise. In addition to items for purchase, live entertainment was provided by a Greek dancing group, who gave lessons to students.

The tradition of Greek dancing tradition started about 35 years ago for the group, and has been passed down to generations since, according to leader Niko Kazanjian. He enjoys carrying on the Greek culture through dancing, and appreciates the chance to perform for others.

“Being able to come to events like this, multi-cultural affairs, just to show authentic Greek dance, is what they still do in Greece to this day,” Kazanjian said. “This is our favorite part of our culture besides the food, and we like to spread the culture. It’s nice to share this with people so they know a little bit about Greek dance.”

In addition to dancing, World Market also featured a team from Pacific Martial Arts, which demonstrated a variety of Asian martial art techniques and passed out flyers for their business. Matt Smith, who founded the studio in 1996, says that martial arts is a way for people to connect with the Asian culture.

“Doing martial arts is going to give you a view of other cultures,” Smith said. “Martial arts are typically from Asia so we are showing some Japanese style martial arts. If you do Japanese karate, you are going to understand the culture a little better.”

With the excitement of live entertainment and student participation, seventh grade Kiaya Hargis considers World Market to be the most enjoyable project of the year, despite the stress of preparation.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Hargis said. “World Market is as stressful as all the projects are, but this is probably been the most fun project of this year. The kids are really buying the stuff and the excitement and seeing the joy on all the kids’ faces when they buy it. It lights up your day. It’s nice that all my hard work and my friends hard work has made a lot of kids happy. I would love to do this again but all the hard work makes it very tiring.”

Although parent Janet Moore has found the process exhausting, she is thankful for the opportunity to contribute, she says.

“My involvement level has been really high; it’s a lot of parental work, but it’s a cool project,” Moore said. “I wouldn’t want them not to do it. Putting the booth together and finding the costumes is one of the harder things for parents. Since I’ve done it before, it was kinda good to know what to expect, but it’s a different group of kids, and different countries, so it’s still stressful for the parents.”

Although this is Moore’s second year taking part in the preparation process — she assisted her older son, Daniel, last year — she still enjoys arriving early to see the work come together, she says.

“It’s great finally getting here and seeing it all set up and seeing everything that you worked for come together,” Moore said. “I think it’s a really fun day for the kids and it’s a good way to pull together what they’ve learned.”

Over the years, King has observed the levels of enjoyment for students who are involved and for those who look back on their own experiences of World Market.

“Even now, high school kids look back on their World Market experience and say, ‘I remember that!’ For the most part it’s a very positive experience.”

For more articles about World Market, read the April 27, 2010 article, World Market prepares global presentations.

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