MAHOMET — Students at Lincoln Trail Elementary School learned about various countries and religions — and had some special visitors — April 5 as part of Heritage and National Differences Study (HANDS) Around the World.
According to information from Jama Grotelueschen of the Mahomet-Seymour PTO, which sponsored the event, more than 100 volunteers including parents, community members and more than 50 Mahomet-Seymour High School foreign language students helped make the day of activities possible. The school’s entire staff pitched in, as well.
The schoolwide cultural event involved every classroom being turned into a country, with volunteers as “governors” who taught about the culture and people of those countries.
The focus this year was on Italy, Egypt, Argentina, Haiti, Peru, Poland, Madagascar, China, Japan, Spain, Norway, Botswana, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Mexico, Thailand, South Africa, Germany, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
The PTO reported that students moved from classroom to classroom within their grade level, having their passports stamped and visiting nine countries that day.
Lincoln Trail music teacher Sue Keeble organized a closing ceremony that included performances by The Shamrock Academy, a local Irish dance company, and University of Illinois men’s basketball players Giorgi Bezhanishvili and Samba Kane, who spoke about their home countries of Georgia and Senegal.
During the closing ceremony, the school chorus and instrumentalists performed “Zangelewa: A greeting song from Cameroon.”
Also, the chorus sang “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars and “I’m on Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons.
Young dancers from The Shamrock Academy showed their skills after Bezhanishvili and Kane talked about their home countries, the things they find the most different in the U.S. and how many languages they speak.