Young Scholars students in Baldwin Township learn about each other’s cultures
By Stephanie Hacke
Published: Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Updated: Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Most of Augustine Chibinga's sixth-grade classmates never knew the youngster once lived in Zambia.
“I thought he was just from Africa or America,” said classmate Shanna Bates, 11, of Carrick.
People often mistakenly assume the 12-year-old came to the United States from Kenya, he said, and have little knowledge of the southern African country where he was born.
“Most people don't even know what Zambia is,” said Chibinga, of Beechview. “I'm not surprised, though.”
Chibinga had the chance to share information about the food, culture and economy of his homeland with students at Young Scholars of Western PA Charter School in Baldwin Township on Feb. 21 during the second annual International Mother Language Day Celebration.
Students in the school's nine classrooms spent the day studying a different nationality, representing the countries their classmates. Nations studied included Vietnam, Jordan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Mexico, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Zambia and the United States.
“It's kind of a melting pot,” school CEO Alpaslan Ozdogan said of the United States and, on a smaller scale, Young Scholars school. “The kids come from all different cultures. We are very diverse.”
The multilingual school, where all students are taught Spanish and Turkish, often celebrates different cultures, Ozdogan said. This helps the students be prepared for the future, he said.
“They're globalized,” Ozdogan said. “They can say, ‘Hey, I already know about that country.'”
The students also get to learn more about those whom they sit next to each day.
Bates said she was “just happy” to know more about Zambia and, in turn, Chibinga.
“That was cool,” she said. “It's like taking a whole new subject.”
Having an “expert” in the class to share firsthand stories about the countries only adds to the learning, said third-grade teacher Carly McPartland, whose class studied Mexico.
“Every place, like every person, has a different story,” she said. “We have students in the school that come from these countries. It's something that we want to celebrate.”
Third-grader Diego Ortega-Cavara, 8, who lived in Mexico for a year, brought a flag from his native land and Spanish documents to show his classmates.
“I thought it was fun. It was about a country that I haven't learned much about,” said third-grader Nicholas Spang, 8, of Overbrook. “He told me he was from Mexico last year, and I said, ‘That's cool. I wish I was from another country.'”
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or email@example.com.
- Baldwin-Whitehall School District officials balance budget
- Brentwood grads grateful to be part of small school
- Write-ins give Baldwin Borough incumbents another chance
- St. Elizabeth Elementary principal retires after 16 years
- Program helps refugees enhance English skills
- Victim’s father spreads word about dating violence
- South Hills communities prepare to update ‘comprehensive plans’
- Playoff beards grown to benefit Baldwin’s Relay for Life
- Baldwin’s Class of 2013 ready to go far
- Paynter Elementary School student project is rolled up with love
- Construction work affecting Baptist Road in Whitehall
You must be signed in to add comments
To comment, click the Sign in or sign up at the very top of this page.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.