On Friday November 3, 2017, Dr. David Chevalier, Chair of the Biology Department at East Georgia State College (EGSC), visited Jefferson County High School (JCHS) for Culture Day. Culture Day is an annual event organized by Juli Whipple, Spanish teacher at JCHS.
The goal of Culture Day is to expose students to different cultures. It allows Whipple to put a focus on all of different cultures and heritage, allows students to learn about them and try new things that they might not have tried otherwise. Students perform research projects about different countries before Culture Day so they have a little bit of a background and then they try to incorporate the different cultures that they have in their school and put a big focus on them so that not only are students learning but cultural minorities also get to feel welcomed into the school system and have others start to understand about their culture.
“For me, Culture Day is when different countries’ cultures are presented and their foods are compared,” said JCHS student Israel E. Perez. “It is a very special day because the history of the different countries is discussed. I learnt that each country is similar but they have specific characteristics.”
Part of the culture of each country is food, so students tasted recipes from different countries for lunch. As a French native, Dr. Chevalier cooked chicken and ham crêpes with cheese. Crêpes are very thin pastries that are commonly associated with France. Dr. Chevalier also discussed French culture. Other countries represented during JCHS Culture day were India, Mexico, Greece and Ireland.
“It is always great to share my French background with students from JCHS and help them appreciate a different culture,” said Dr. Chevalier. “It was the first time hearing about and eating crêpes for most of these students.”
“I organize Culture Day for the students because I want them to understand other people and how they interact with the world,” said Whipple. “Kids in Jefferson County are not exposed to a whole lot of diversity even though we have minorities at the school. However, most of them do not bring their culture into our school system. I feel that, when you understand other people's culture and why they do things, that people become more understanding.”