Valley meets world

More than 320 people showed up to eat pozole, pancit and pot pies during a Multicultural Family Fun Night at Gardnerville Elementary School on Tuesday.

Norah Gastelum, who teaches English as a second language at the school and helped organize the event, said it was created to bring people from different cultures together for an evening of fun.

"Parents like family night because it gives them a chance to share their cultures," Gastelum said. "It brings a lot of people together who might not otherwise get the chance to talk.

"Planning events like these that get families involved helps make the parents feel that school is a helpful resource in the community," she said.

Parents contributed food, songs and dances were performed and games played keeping the multicultural idea in mind.

There were Australian pot pies; pozole, a Mexican pork and hominy stew; Chinese food; Basque chorizo; pancit, a Filipino noodle dish and tea and sweets from the Middle East.

Bob Nye, whose son Cameron is a fourth-grade student at the school, said he had a great time at last year's multicultural night and didn't want to miss this year's event.

"I enjoy this more than anything they do at the school all year long," Nye said. "It's neat to see what other families do and what they eat."

Sixth-grade student, Michael Verano, 11, watched girls from his class perform music from the U.S. - rap - but said he was only interested in the food.

"The food is cool," said Verano. "I liked the pies from Australia."

Dances from Sudan, India, China and the U.S. were performed by students and adults. Some children painted Australian animals at tables while others played international games in the library.

Amanda Caccamise, 10, painted at a table with a half-dozen other children.

"Multicultural night is great," Caccamise said. "The girls dancing were really good. I liked the pozole and I painted a wombat. I learned about different food and how it was made."

Gastelum said she knows of people who are interested in what is planned for next year's Multicultural Family Fun Night.

"Our family involvement committee is made up of teachers and a parent representative and is already thinking towards the future," Gastelum said. "We'd love to have more parents on the committee to get together to plan events.

"A student's mother told me in Spanish that this was a beautiful event - that it was very special to her. She said that she wanted to participate next year. A lot of people came because they remembered having fun last year," she said.


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