Festival May 25: L.O.L. stands for Love of Languages

A multi-cultural festival will take place at Foran High School Friday, May 25.

The event, L.O.L. Love of Languages, will be a celebration of world languages and culture, and will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Foran High School cafeteria and courtyard.

Teachers Pam Sheppard and Lisa Elgart, world language teachers with the Milford school district, won a mini grant from the Milford Education Foundation to hold the event, which will include a Flamenco dancer, Irish dancers, a Peruvian dancer and a Ukrainian dancer. There also will be a guitar player and fencing displays along with free language lessons.

More than 40 students are involved as ambassadors of their culture and as performers.

The idea for the multicultural festival was born when students approached world language teachers and shared their pride in their ethnic backgrounds

“These students wanted to teach others about their own cultures and languages so that they would feel more understood and accepted at school,” said Sheppard. The World Culture Club at Foran High School took up the charge and students began offering monthly meetings, each dedicated to a different culture.

“During these entirely student-run meetings, members learned words in other languages, encouraged each other to travel and tasted ethnic delicacies,” Sheppard said. “Students and teachers wanted to expand this experience and further celebrate the mosaic of our student diversity.”

The students and teachers believe that the multi-cultural fair will foster a greater sense of tolerance and understanding among students and in society.

“We hope to model and encourage unity and peace,” Elgart said.

There are 41 different languages spoken by students and their families in the MIlford Public Schools, according to Elgart and Sheppard. More than 26 different languages will be represented by student ambassadors at the upcoming event.

The event is free and open to people of all ages. Baked goods will be sold. There will be a 50/50 raffle. Any money raised through the bake sale, raffle and donations will be placed in a scholarship for a graduating senior who plans to pursue language study at the university level.

In addition to the bake sale, many of the cultural stations will offer food popular in the county represented.

“Milford students and teachers hope to instill an open mind and a sense that diversity is desirable,” Elgart said. “We feel that our diversity makes us stronger as a community. World languages and cultures exist here in Milford and because of this our town has a bigger heart and is much more interesting.”

The teachers said they hope to foster a greater sense of tolerance and understanding by bringing together people of diverse languages and cultures.

Festival highlights include:

  • More than 35 student language and cultural station tables

  • Student performances: music and dance

  • Professional Spanish flamenco dancers

  • Professional Peruvian dancer

  • Irish dancers

  • Latino pop song guitarist/singer

  • Fencing demo

  • Brazilian martial arts demo

  • Cultural face painting and coloring station for children

  • Expert panel of professionals who use their language skills on the job

  • Sales of homemade “pulseras” bracelets and “bolsito” handbags to benefit the poor in Nicaragua and Guatemala