HS students give lessons in culture to elementary youngsters

A group of stu­dents from Quakertown Community High School has been teach­ing Quakertown Elementary School stu­dents about dif­fer­ent cul­tures from around the world.

The high school stu­dents are with the Diversity Club, and they make the two-block walk to QE once a month to edu­cate the younger stu­dents.

“Being a minor­i­ty myself, I know what it feels like for oth­er peo­ple not to under­stand my cul­ture,” said Sierra Lee, a mem­ber of the Diversity Club. “There’s so much diver­si­ty in America, I want to help the next gen­er­a­tion of kids under­stand that while peo­ple may look dif­fer­ent we all have sim­i­lar­i­ties.”

So far, the high school­ers have led pro­grams about Hispanic her­itage, Native American her­itage, and Congolese and Chinese cul­tures. This month’s focus was Black History Month.

“They love it,” said Kerry Foley, who along with Krista Fronk are QE’s English Language Development teach­ers. “They get to see high school kids and learn about dif­fer­ent cul­tures, dif­fer­ent places. It opens their eyes to oth­er cul­tures, oth­er sim­i­lar­i­ties. They become famil­iar and it helps cre­ate a com­fort lev­el for them when they meet oth­er peo­ple.”

QCSD is a pre­dom­i­nant­ly white dis­trict with small Hispanic, African-American and Asian pop­u­la­tions. In an increas­ing­ly diverse world, hav­ing stu­dents learn about diver­si­ty and accep­tance at an ear­ly age can only ben­e­fit them.

“It’s an excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty for our stu­dents to learn direct­ly from high school stu­dents,” said QE Principal Dr. Michael Zackon, who added that these edu­ca­tion­al ses­sions “increase our cul­tur­al aware­ness and cul­tur­al com­pe­ten­cy. It’s a fab­u­lous pro­gram with spe­cif­ic cul­tures per­ti­nent to our QE stu­dents.”

Jordynn Cheatle and Teddy Bevan-Xenelis are the club’s found­ing mem­bers. In addi­tion to Sierra, mem­bers include Abby McMullen, Amber Edwards, Hailey Gerhart, Kaja McCartney, Melanie Croissette, Liv Williams, Riya Sembhi, Sammie Edinger, Sam Barndt and Ty Everitt.

Needing an advi­sor to estab­lish the club, Jordynn and Teddy approached Spanish teacher Bethany Fuller, who spear­head­ed the plan­ning for this year’s MLK Day of Service.

“It’s good to start pro­grams like this at a young age, where they can be edu­cat­ed and stop prob­lems before they can be cre­at­ed,” Jordynn said.

Mrs. Fuller is proud of her stu­dents. “They’re vol­un­teer­ing their time because this is mean­ing­ful for them,” she said. “They found a way to make a dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­ni­ty, and it’s awe­some.”