Echo Lake Elementary multi-cultural event

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Echo Lake Elementary school, in the north-central section of Shoreline, has an annual Multi-Cultural Festival, celebrating the different cultures of the families at the school. Under the direction of ELL (English Language Learners) teacher Maureen Cline, students write about their lives and cultures. These writings are put on display in the hallway.

Maureen owns a few articles of clothing from other cultures and used to put them in a glass case in the school lobby. Other people saw the display and offered to loan items of their own for the festival. The display now fills every inch of available wall space on a very long hallway.

According to principal Mary Koontz, families at Echo Lake Elementary speak 29 different languages.
Marueen Cline says, "Our festival is generally on a Friday afternoon from 2:30 - 3:30 pm. Parents and guests come to their students' classrooms to see what students and families have brought for show and tell, cultural PowerPoint presentations, stories, or whatever the individual classrooms are doing. Then there is the feast! Everyone always does enjoy tasting all the different foods brought from home."
The State asks schools to report student ethnicity under seven categories. Under these categories, the 496 students of Echo Lake are:
  • White-230
  • Asian-131
  • Hispanic-55
  • Black-40
  • Mixed-36
  • Indian-3
  • Pacific Islander-1 
Echo Lake is typical of schools in the district in its ethnic diversity.
The ethnicity list does not reflect how many students come from English-speaking families or how many come from other countries with other languages spoken at home. Nor does it reflect which families speak English fluently and which families depend on their children to translate for them.

Lists are helpful, but the clothing display illustrates vividly the extensive multi-cultural diversity of our schools.

Photos by Steven H. Robinson


Anonymous,  April 9, 2010 at 12:39 PM  

I work at Echo Lake and look forward to this display every year. The colors and detail in the clothing from different cultures is truly amazing!

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