Country Fair Expands Cultural Horizons


6th grader, Austin McCarthy, showcases his German heritage

Megan Brigham

By Megan Brigham, Callie Ross, and Abby Mclaughlin

Staff Writers

   Bird Middle School held its 15th annual Country Fair on Tuesday, May 16. Each year as a part of a unit in their history class, every sixth grader at the Bird Middle School researches and presents on a single country of his or her choice. After a month of preparation, the students spread throughout the entire school based on continental region. Friends and family then walk through the school to learn about the different cultures. Organized by David Cuzzi, sixth grade social studies teacher, the Country Fair is meant to broaden the students’ perspectives of the global community.

   Showcasing the home country of her distant relatives, Haley Brigham presented on Lebanon. Wearing a Lebanese soccer jersey and serving baklava (a sweet dough filled, middle eastern dessert), Brigham said, “I feel closer to my heritage after doing this project. I’m happy I got to show all of my hard work off to my friends.”

   Sarah Schmidt, another participant, researched and presented Uganda. Schmidt did not choose this country for purposes of her heritage, as many students do, but had a unique reason, special to only her and her family.

“The reason I chose Uganda is because I sponsor a child there and I wanted to learn more about how she lives, and what she does,” said Schmidt.

   Schmidt donates money each month to a young girl, who lives across the world in Uganda. She enjoyed being able to share new knowledge about her sponsor child with friends and family. A unique aspect to Schmidt’s project were the models she made, which represented typical homes for those living in Uganda. These huts were complete with mud walls and thatch roofs, as they are in Uganda.

   For one sixth grade student, this project gave her insight as to what she would like to accomplish later in life. Lyla Tillinghast said, “After learning about Haiti and the tragic earthquake, I now know I want to help raise money or do something to help people who live there.”

   Tillinghast represented the Haiti as she dressed in a tribal patterned shirt along with a matching headband.

   Cuzzi said, “[most students] are so used to that little bubble that is Walpole, and this [event] gives them a sense of the other stuff that’s out there. It’s awesome to see kids show off their heritage, rather than just trying to blend in with their peers.”