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International flavors fill JFK Middle School

By CAROLINE GABLE

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Almost 1,000 people packed the gym at JFK Middle School Thursday night, and it wasn't to see a game. International Night brought out students and adults alike. Twenty-two different cultures were showcased, because they are all found in Utica.

Students celebrated their unique heritage, with large posters with information about where they are from. Live music and cultural dances kept spectators entertained. But one of the main reasons students and adults came out, for just $1 you could try foods from around the world. Every table allowed you to sample a different dish. Burmese, Nepal, Lebanese, Polish, Italian, Bosnian, Greek, Hispanic, you name it, it was there for you to try.

The teacher who put together International Night grew up only speaking Italian, so she understands first hand what it's like to go to school with a language barrier. She says the event breaks down that barrier by promoting understanding, in a school where diversity is king.

"I have to tell you this is such a wonderful experience because not only is the child learning about other cultures, but they are also working with their family to make something that is from their culture, so it is an incredible learning experience," says Josephine Tebano.

Many former students came back to take part in the event. They say it is a highlight of the school year they don't want to miss.

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