A Roundup of World Language Week

All photos courtesy of Lia Horyczun

Rachel Tropp ‘16
EE Senior Entertainment Editor

Geethika Kodakara ‘16
EE Staff Writer

As March turned to April, the students and faculty of THS at last enjoyed one of our favorite annual traditions. While outside it was still cold and dreary, the halls at school were bright with beautifully decorated doors and happy faces looking forward to events like the International Cooking Contest and the Ennio Emmanuel Concert. Along with the awesome experiences and competitions, World Language Week offered a great opportunity to immerse students in the worlds of other cultures, even just passing by doors commemorating the Spanish Civil War or the Aztec gods, or popping into the Senior Lounge to try tasty dishes for only $2.

The week kicked off with a highly anticipated concert by Ennio Emmanuel, a critically-acclaimed Puerto Rican singer-songwriter. Concert-goers left class before period six and returned at the end of period eight. The concert began with technical difficulties, as the speakers blew out, but Sr. Sevilla acted quickly to entertain the crowd with jokes and stories until the issues were resolved.

The remainder of the concert featured numerous upbeat songs and instrumental pieces derived from Spanish culture. Junior Lauren Knapp described Ennio as a great singer, who tours high schools to “inspire hope and positivity.” Knapp especially liked that Ennio kept the audience engaged by “making sure to include the crowd.” After the concert ended, Ennio signed autographs, took pictures, and sold merchandise.

On Tuesday, official judging of the door-decorating contest commenced. The competition was fierce, with many classes working for weeks to create intricate and culturally significant designs.

Highlights include several Italian rooms decorated to represent the story of Romeo and Juliet; Sra. Espejo’s semi-silly, many-eyebrowed homage to the unibrowed Frida Kahlo; beautiful Latin rooms depicting the Roman gods; and the ELL room’s usage of the varied cultures of its students to create a meaningful and diverse door, including all their languages and names.

The seriousness of the designs ranged from Sr. Sevilla’s hilarious “Guacamole Explosion” to more political statements, such as a French door depicting the Charlie Hebdo situation, highlighting the importance of free speech.

Sra. Castedo’s door represented the antique cars of Cuba, and she said,“It’s been in the news since December that Obama started conversation with the country of Cuba about having a relationship again, because there has been an embargo and they don’t have any kind of relationship– diplomatic, commercial, or otherwise. So they’re starting to try to work things out, and they’ve been putting a lot on the news that in Havana they have cars from the 1950s, very vintage cars that are still working because they have been fixing them and they didn’t have access to newer cars. They’re all over the city, so that was my theme.”

The winners of the contest were Sra. McNaughton in C-34, with an eye-catching tribute to Spanish wrestling, or Lucha Libre; Sra. Giordano in C-30, with a bright, 3-D version of the Ennio concert; and Sra. Manso-Garcia in C-33 with a poignant picture of Picasso’s Guernica and scenes from the Spanish Civil War, all of which her Spanish IV Honors students are currently studying.

With Wednesday came the International Cooking Contest, one of the most fun activities of the year for many repeat participants. Over thirty teams took part, with only three winners per language.

Junior Kristi Bui, whose group won first place in the Spanish category for their guacamole, paella, and limeade said,“We chose to do it because it’s a great way for us to experience the culture of our respective languages. We take Spanish and we hear our teachers talk about all these fun recipes and not only do we get to make food, but we get to experience food that other people have learned about and created for this competition.”

Her teammate junior Katherine Griffin agreed, saying, “I really like doing the cooking contest with the culturally diverse group I [did] it with last year and now this year…It’s really cool because not only are we replicating Spanish dishes but we’re also incorporating our own cultures into them…[My teammates] Amulya and Shravan are Indian so they don’t eat pork; instead of putting the traditional pork-based things in our paella we made a seafood paella, so it’s better for everyone.”

The second-place Spanish winner, freshman Armand Perez, created a tasty Cuban meal consisting of beef, rice, and beans. “I think it’s just amazing that I could win,” said Perez. “I want to thank my mom and grandma because it would be impossible without them.”

Creating the food took a lot of work for many, yet participants found it very gratifying. First place Latin winner junior Steven Stanton said, “We made quail eggs in pine nut sauce, and a stuffed pork, which is stuffed with turkey breast, chicken breast, sausage, and baked potato, and small cheesecake rolls soaked in honey, but they were all eaten.” Despite the complicated nature of the food, Stanton was very proud to win for the third year in a row.

Italian winner sophomore Elise Rimkunas echoed, “It was really hard to make the food, but it really paid off, because it went really fast and people really liked it.”

Even those who didn’t compete enjoyed the festivities and the food, and people scarfed down tray after tray of pasta, tacos, and treats. Senior Ricky Guerin said, “I think the best part is usually the desserts from France and Italy.”

On Thursday, world language students headed down to the gymnasium throughout the day to learn a variety of ethnic dances, ranging from Polish classical dances to Bollywood numbers. Senior Nina Ferreri, who helped teach the Italian tarantella, said, “It was a lot of fun because I’m Italian and I know the dance. So, at first, it was kind of just getting these new people and teaching them what we know. But after a while, it’s kind of like, ok, this is the thirtieth time we’ve taught it, don’t these people know it? No, we gotta teach it…But it was still a lot of fun.”

Participant junior Hannah Sudhakar agrees, stating, “Dance Day was the perfect way to get students involved in the different cultures of Trumbull High.”

Overall, World Language Week was very fun and culturally enriching. Spanish teacher Sr. Sevilla said, “It was amazing because kids get to experience the culture firsthand. We had a concert in the target language, we had the cooking contest where the kids actually had the opportunity to taste different foods from different cultures, and we also had the door decorating contest, which is phenomenal, because when the kids get to decorate and bring themes from the Spanish-speaking culture, it’s awesome.”

Sra. Slais said, “My favorite part about World Language Week is the excitement, seeing all the students participating and having fun and enjoying languages and being together and celebrating.” This statement just about sums up the week, which was a giant success. Next year’s World Language Week couldn’t come sooner!


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