Nysmith Blog

Learning through the Celebration of Culture During International Week

International Week at Nysmith School has always been one of our most beloved school-wide events. Traditionally, the events of the week are capped off by a festive, multi-cultural student parade around the school grounds. This year, our students paraded in the clothing of their cultural heritages and backgrounds such as Cuba, India, Iraq, Japan, Liberia, China, Kurdistan, and Costa Rica—just to name a few. Although the parade is the most visible of the many events during International Week, there are many other events throughout the week that give our students a better glimpse into the larger world around us. Here is just a sample of some of the special events we hosted last week: 


On Wednesday, 6th and 8th grade history students listened to a presentation by Chantal Abonge, a native of the West African nation, Cameroon. Ms. Abonge captivated the students with stories from her childhood, weaving in the history of Cameroon, its various languages and dialects, as well as religious traditions, customs, local dress, and native foods. The presentation was capped off by a Cameroonian dance demonstration outside on the soccer field, where all students were able to join in.  

7th and 8th grade students also found themselves dancing after watching their classmates perform a Salsa Suelta (loose salsa/not with partners) to the song, La Gozadera by Gente de Zona during Thursday’s Spanish dance assembly. The 7th and 8th grade Spanish students did an amazing job dancing the salsa, performed with the coaching and assistance of professional salsa dancer and choreographer, Mr. David Norton. Afterwards, Mr. Norton and Spanish teacher, Ms. Azul VelduceaTorres (who also happens to be a professional salsa dancer), danced a salsa together to the joy and amazement of everyone in the audience. Mr. Norton and Ms. Velducea-Torres stayed afterwards to share some dancing moves and tips with students. (Click HERE to watch these performances on YouTube.) 

Our celebration of culture traversed time as well as space, with a special presentation by a Roman soldier for our 7th and 8th grade Latin students. Our special Roman visitor was a reenactor from the DC based group, LEGIO XX. He described what daily life would be like for a Roman soldier and shared the different items of clothing and shoes that a soldier would typically wear. Among these items, students were able to see and touch re-created chain mail, snake scale, leather shoes and sandals, and various items of weaponry typical of a Roman soldier.  

Finally, our week’s events concluded with a musical performance by the group, Anansegromma of Ghana. This West African duo introduced West African clothing, musical instruments, language and culture through their lively call and repeat songs and dancing.