Students from Fields Road Elementary School, Gaithersburg, celebrated their ethnic heritage Nov. 16 at the school’s annual Heritage Night.
They also earned more than $1,000 for victims of Hurricane Sandy with the sale of student-made house pins, which they sold during the evening.
The annual event was organized by school counselor Diyana Sanders-Gunaratnam.
“It just brings the whole community together at the beginning of the year,” Sanders-Gunaratnam said. “It opens doors.”
Every grade level had a heritage project such as creating heritage dolls, posters and flags or, for the older students, interviewing a family member and writing an essay.
Many students came dressed in native costumes and participated in a fashion and talent show at the end of the evening.
Tables representing 20 countries from around the world were set up in the school hallways offering information and a chance for students to have passports stamped as having visited.
Elijah Diaz,11, a fifth grader, helped at the table representing Puerto Rico, the country of his heritage.
“There are lots of frogs and a lot of beaches and a lot of mangoes and rivers,” Elijah said of Puerto Rico. “The capital is San Juan.”
The frogs, he said, are called Coqui, and are native of the country.
Second grader Larry Suvorov, 7, helped his parents at the table representing Israel.
When asked about Heritage Night his repeated comment was, “Wow, it’s so amazing,”
Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade art students, with the help of teacher Loanne Nguyen, created the house pins using matboard, sharpies and glue. Students designed their houses and added a heart to each as suggested at hearthouses.org, a website set up by art teachers Ann Ayers and Ellen McMillan from Monarch High School in Coconut Shores, Fla., to help students make a difference in the lives of others.
“I am filled with emotions as I think of how incredibly proud I am of my students, supportive staff, parents and school community for coming together ... and showing students how their actions can impact others,” Nguyen said in an email.