The world will live as one

Black Elk hosts annual Celebration of Nations


Sam Whittaker

A volunteer at the Celebration of Nations’ Japanese booth paints a guest’s name in black ink. Free of charge, every booth had something to offer just like this one, ranging from snacks to artwork. “We wanted children to learn about other cultures and countries not of their own origin,” Black Elk Spanish Teacher Sarah Valasek said. “We wanted families to feel valued and we want all of our students to be represented at this event. Moving forward, our hope and our goal is to make sure every single background and country of origin is represented from a booth, a dance or a food throughout the event.”

Sam Whittaker, Staff Reporter

Black Elk Elementary School hosted their annual Celebration of Nations on Thursday, March 31. This was an entertaining way to educate all those in attendance about the many countries around the world and some of their culture.

Students were given a small paper passport, and once they had visited a booth, a sticker was put next to the corresponding flag. Booths located throughout the cafeteria and gym included everything from cultural performers to food trucks. Millard West was represented with world language booths of their own, including Spanish, French and German, in which French teacher Sarah Karst and others represented. 

“It’s a big event at Black Elk Elementary,” Karst said. “There’s multiple countries and clubs from the high school that come and represent as well. It’s an opportunity to just experience different cultures, food, traditions, dress, music, the works. It’s a good way to bring the community together in a really inclusive way but also a one-stop shop kind of situation, and it’s free, so it’s not for profit at all.”

Aside from the Millard West booths, many countries around the world were represented, from the Americas, to Europe, Africa and Asia. Some booths even had handouts like snacks, little prizes and even a booth with your name painted from ink at the Japanese booth. Black Elk Spanish teacher Sarah Valasek helped coordinate the event with a focus on showcasing the community’s diversity

“I would like people to take away from Celebration of Nations that we are a very diverse, community-oriented event,” Valasek said. “Our different community vendors, organizations, clubs and all of our volunteers, everyone as a group makes this event possible. Just as many of diverse groups, that is how many nations we have represented, so this is a really multicultural event and multilingual event where we embrace and value all diversity throughout our Black Elk community and our Millard community.”

The event was set up to be action packed for two hours with many cultural performances using drums from Africa, bells attached to a boot from Europe, and many community members, and students dressing up for the occasion. Those at booths had their own experience as well. Junior Ellie Fulcher was just one of them who took part in the responsibility like handing out coloring sheets, and educating those who were curious. 

“I was hoping they gained interest in learning more,” Fulcher said. “It was a super cool event and there were so many different things for all the kids to do, and it was very well organized. The kids were adorable and were all super engaged in exploring the other countries.”

The event overall was a huge success in part because of the coordination and all of the entertaining activities that kept everyone busy. The welcoming atmosphere was decorated and hung with flags from countries all around the world. All those in attendance enjoyed the festivities, and the event will only continue to grow and get more diverse in the coming years.