Lakeview High School, exchange students host international fair

By Meghan Nelson • Last Updated 10:32 am on Monday, November 14, 2016

Tomás Lenzi, 16, talks to Lakeview High School teacher Chris Bayne about Lenzi’s home country of Brazil at the school’s sixth annual International Fair on Wednesday. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

LAKEVIEW — Students from Turkmenistan, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Georgia, Brazil, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Cambodia, Poland, Czech Republic and the U.S. set up tables in the halls of Lakeview High School.

The setup was for Wednesday’s International Fair, hosted by the International Club, which is comprised of about 30 foreign exchange students and American students, as well as high school staff members and advisors.

Mariam Geldiashvili, 17, fromGeorgiashowed pictures of her country and offered homemade Georgian cheese bread to participants at the Sixth Annual International Fair on Wednesday at Lakeview High School.

The fair was open to students, faculty and the community. Lisa Jensen,regional manager with CCI Greenheart, a company that services foreign exchange students and host families, said some students received written feedback from participants.

“I think this year’s sixth annual was the most successful yet,” Jensen said. “It definitely had a larger visitor crowd with some kids having as many as 50 visitors at their station during the three hours.”

During the fair, visitors were able to talk to exchange and American students and learn more about the various cultures that were represented.

Exchange students, Mariam Geldiashvili, 17, presented her home country of Georgia. She talked about how Georgia is unique because it is conflictingly considered part of Europe, Asia or both depending on the map.

She noted that the culture is much friendlier in the U.S. than in Georgia.

“I like the people here,” Geldiashvili said. “Everyone is so positive and asking how I’m doing, even the strangers.”

Zayda Melinowski, 15, practices writing her name in Mandarin at the Sixth Annual International Fair on Wednesday at Lakeview High School.

Another popular country was 16-year-old Tomás Lenzi’s presentation of Brazil. He had a miniature wooden replica of Christ the Redeemer statue, which stands in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro. But he was also popular for the Brazilian chocolate he offered for attendees to try while he talked to them about Carnaval, Brazilian martial arts, feijoada (a mixture of meat,beans and rice), cachaça (Brazil’s most popular spirit) and Iemanjá Festival.

“I could put thousands of things we eat and do on this board,” Lenzi said. “Our country is pretty big, but these things we have in the whole country.”

Kancy Huang, 16, presented her home country of Taiwan. Her table featured moon blocks, which are used in Taiwanese temples to ask gods “yes” or “no” questions. The crescent-shaped blocks are tossed after asking a question, and the position of the blocks is supposed to answer the question.

Huang also taught attendees how to write their names in Mandarin. She would ask for the name’s spelling and then translate it so the participant could copy their name onto paper.

“Every year, these students create a presentation like their school year grades depend on it,” Jensen noted. “They take so much pride in the work they do. The presentation boards, slide shows and thought they each put into them are amazing. Some even cook dishes or wear traditional outfits. I’m always impressed.”

Jensen strategically planned the International Fair to take place during parent/teacher conferences at Lakeview High School. The timing allows teachers, parents and students to enjoy the fair while they are already at the high school.

“Word is definitely getting out, and even though we have it during parent/teacher conferences, it wasn’t just the students and parents who stopped in,” Jensen said. “We also had many without high school students who visited to support the kids and learn about the individual countries. It is definitely a highlight of the club’s year.”

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