Midvalley Elementary brought the world to their campus recently for the school’s Multicultural Fair.
“Everybody loves it,” said Midvalley PTA President Bree Strong, who collaborated with the school to plan the event. “Kids love it because they get to perform, families love it because it’s a great night out, and anything to strengthen our school community and bring everyone together is invaluable to our kids.”
This is the third year Midvalley has hosted the free event, which has become a highlight of the year for the community. Some 700 people came to listen to ethnic music and watch students perform dances from Ireland, Russia, India and New Zealand. The Utah Hispanic Dance Alliance, who danced at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, also performed. Flags representing countries from all over the world adorned the school’s parking lot and waved in the background as crowds ate cuisine from some of Principal Jeff Nalwalker’s favorite vendors. He handpicked the Korean, Mexican and Afghani food carts as some of his favorite places to eat.
“I just think that diversity enriches all of us,” said Nalwalker, who brought the fair to Midvalley after planning a similar event at Copperview Elementary. “Our world is shrinking and I want our kids to be global citizens.”
Nalwalker, who served in Afghanistan as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, spends the year teaching his students the importance of diversity. When his students’ native language at home is different than English, he makes a point of learning how to say “hello” in that language so he can greet them in their native tongue.
“It’s always been a passion of mine,” he said.
In addition to eating food and watching the entertainment, visitors were also invited to participate in several art activities and visit 12 tables with information on Colombia, China, Cambodia, Peru, Japan, Brazil, Thailand, New Zealand, Tonga, Chile, Guatemala and Russia. Each table had information and artifacts from their country, including poi poi balls from New Zealand, matryoshka dolls from Russia and a giant, preserved spider from Colombia.