Languages ‘Boost Your Brain’


Seniors Logan Rooney, Allison Smith, Teagan Cushall, and ASL teacher Emily Pomrening decorate the ASL hallway. Photo by Alex Barlog

Alex Barlog, Staff Reporter

Bonjour! Guten Tag! Hola! National foreign language week celebrating cultures kicked off nationwide on March 7 with this year’s theme of “Boost Your Brain With Language.”

The celebration was not limited to the four languages taught in North classrooms.  Instead, it honored  every language or culture from around the world. From decorating hallways to sampling food from other countries, national foreign language week is always filled with different activities for students and staff. 

North offered an explosion of cultures throughout the whole week. There were plenty of opportunities for students to get involved as well. Multicultural music played during passing periods, and signs were posted on doors, lockers, bathrooms and offices with descriptions in other languages.

“From hearing music in multiple languages to being exposed to new foods, fun facts and phrases, there [were]a plethora of different ways to get involved,” German teacher Jennifer Ibanez said. 

On March 2, students took to the halls and filled them with culturally representative decorations. French, ASL, German and Spanish each had a dedicated wing, with the entrance being the focal point. 

“Decorating the hallways is always a good way to get involved”, senior Jakeb Chanthaboury said. “ It’s easy, and it’s fun to see what all the other languages are doing in their hallway.” 

Always a perennial highlight, North held  an after school Multicultural Food Festival in the cafeteria on March 8 where students learned  phrases from other languages as well as tasted food from different cultures and countries. French teacher Elizabeth Moore believes this is an important event to include every year.

“It brings awareness to other cultures and communities around the world as well as locally,” Moore said. “You might learn that a student sitting next to you in class knows another language. It also builds community amongst the student body as they learn more about each other.” 

Students had the chance to volunteer to bring food from any culture for the fest, and in return, they earned  extra credit in their language class. 

“It is always a great experience for students to try new foods that they possibly wouldn’t have tried in their lives otherwise,” Spanish teacher Jennifer Gruhkle said.

Moore concurs.  “I love trying new foods at the food fest,” Moore said. “Every year I get to try a new dish I’ve never heard of and learn a little bit about my students’ cultural heritage.” 

Trying delicacies for numerous cultures and countries was not the only activity during the festival.  People were given the chance  to learn languages and information about cultures from other students as well. 

Some of the languages being offered [were]Urdu, Romanian, Hindi, Turkish, Chinese, Korean and Telugu just to name a few,” Gruhkle said. “ We [had]16 different languages being offered for students to be exposed to.”

Foreign language teachers played videos created by other language teachers and students  about cultures and languages from around the world during class, which gave students an opportunity to learn fun facts about international countries.

“Hopefully the little sampling of each of the languages the students learn will let them know that learning different languages is attainable and beneficial to ‘boost their brain’,” Gruhlke said.

All in all, the week-long celebration embraced cultures from all corners of the word, and brought them all inside the walls of North. 

“It’s a wonderful time to come together and celebrate both the students and the cultures,” Ibanez said.