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In the native dress, Alyssa Sturgeon welcomes visitors to Pakistan. (Star Gazette photo by Jane Lightbourn)

Hastings' own 'Festival of Nations' is held

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For years, there has been a Festival of Nations in St. Paul. People attending learned about the different countries through displays, musical activities, and of course, the food specialties.

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Hastings' St. Elizabeth Ann Seton sixth-grade students held their own Festival of Nations Friday afternoon at the school, and, judging by the enthusiasm and energy level, it was a very popular event.

Social studies/language arts teacher Colleen Petersen had introduced her sixth-grade students to different societies and cultures of the world in a variety of ways. Egypt was a focal point for years.

Let's do something different this year, she decided. She ran it by her committee of teachers, and then opened it to her students at a brainstorming session.

"They loved it," said Petersen. "We began the planning."

Each student randomly selected a country either from Africa or Asia and then began their work.

"Each did research of their country, including the language," said Petersen. "Their projects were representative of that country. And, of course, they were to dress in costumes native to the country."

The end results were colorful, tasty and worth more than a few comments.

There was a Sumo wrestler (he was able to find the costume through the Internet), displays of volcanoes, the Pyramids, the different housing styles, small bugs native to the country and food samples (complete with recipes). The students were eager to share their information about the country and their projects.

"They just loved doing this," said Petersen. "There were so excited."

As other students in the school visited the Festival of Nations, they brought individual passports (made by the class). As they visited each country, the passports were stamped.

It was another keepsake to a fun and educational afternoon.

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