ShareThis Page
Inside the Classroom

Obama Academy to hold 2nd International Festival

Jamie Martines
| Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, 9:00 a.m.

Pittsburgh's Barack Obama Academy is holding an event Saturday to promote its students' diverse backgrounds and the East Liberty school's International Baccalaureate program.

The second International Festival will feature food, performances and information stations where people can learn about students' heritage and cultures.

“We just think it's a great way to bring families together,” said event organizer Lisa Harris, a mother and member of the Obama Academy Parent Teacher Student Association. The association along with the East Liberty Chamber of Commerce, Obama Academy foreign language teachers and local businesses are facilitating the event.

The International Festival was started in 2016 as a way to complement the school's International Baccalaureate program, an interdisciplinary curriculum that allows high school students to pursue college-level coursework. It also celebrates students' diverse cultural backgrounds, Harris said.

Local parents and restaurants will contribute traditional dishes from around the world. Entertainment will include Brazilian and West African dance crews, along with the Obama Academy steel drum group.

Visitors will receive a passport when they arrive and can earn stamps by traveling to information stations representing different countries. Stamped passports will then be exchanged for tickets to be entered in a raffle drawing.

“It helps people learn about different stuff from around the world,” said Zion Harris, an 11th-grader, adding that he sees the event as a chance for students and community members to learn about places they might want to visit in the future.

About 100 people attended the school's last international festival, held in 2016.

Student Sophia Margittai, a 10th-grader, hosted a table representing her family's Hungarian heritage at the 2016 festival.

“A lot of people have a lot of back stories that they don't get to talk about,” Margittai said. She thinks the festival is an opportunity to share family history and to get to know classmates and community members better. This year, she plans to once again dress in a traditional Hungarian gown made by her grandmother.

“It's just a fun experience for everyone around the school,” she said, adding that she encourages the public to come to this year's event with an open mind and to be ready to learn new things.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at, 724-850-2867 or on Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me