Eighth-graders learn to hula dance during International Week

Apr. 13, 2013 @ 04:19 PM

BY JILL FRYE

Only grass skirts, leis, and palm trees swere missing during lunch at Pigeon Forge Middle on Friday. 

Eighth-graders in April Daniels' history class taught their peers a Polynesian hula dance as part of International Week at the school.

Betty Owenby, cafeteria manager, organizes the program each year, offering the students a taste of diversity. Throughout the week, students had the opportunity to sample the foods of Japan, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Hawaii.

"The program focuses on what we have in common, not our differences," Owenby said. "We try to do something different to bring them together, and food brings everything together. We use the commodities we have to open the world up to the children, and they really seem to enjoy it."

"We've been eating different foods all week. The best was the Italian," said Seth Workman.

"My favorite part was being able to dance in all the lunches, and teach the others how to do it," said eighth-grader Michael Franklin.

"I hope next we get to learn an Italian dance," added Mallory Sutton.

"Scrumptous," "the best food we've had all year," and "exquisitely prepared," are a few of the things students had to say about the international cuisine.

A bulletin board announced the greeting, "Welcome to Polynesia." Cafeteria walls were lined with artwork depicting international flags and Irish blessings.

Mary Lee, food services supervisor, said, "It's very creative. It's not just a cafeteria thing. It incorporates the whole school, and the kids have fun doing it."

"We do it every year, and we hope it continues," Owenby said.

jfrye@themountainpress.com