The Deer Run Elementary School gymnasium was home to new sights and activities as students learned about holidays from around the globe Dec. 16.

The Deer Run Elementary School gymnasium was home to new sights and activities as students learned about holidays from around the globe Dec. 16.

Principal Susann Wittig said the school has held similar events in the past, and last year did a world's fair.

The decision to focus on holidays this year was made by students who are part of the school's multicultural leadership team.

"This year, the kids wanted to focus more on holidays around the world," Wittig said.

Twelve nationalities were represented with booths manned by parents or extended family members.

Students who are part of the multicultural team sent letters to families inviting them to participate.

"It was student-driven," Wittig said.

Giving students the opportunity to understand different customs and traditions within and beyond the Deer Run community is important, she said.

"It's one of our favorite events of the year, so we'll see what next year brings -- a new twist, I'm sure."

Mindy Swanner was at the event with her daughters, Ruby, 5, and Everly, 3.

Swanner said she thinks children should learn about different cultures to help them interact with people.

Ruby and Everly often play with their neighbors, who are from India and Japan, and their neighbors might celebrate different holidays than the sisters' family does.

Preeti Shiva, a Dublin resident, was helping to oversee a booth representing the holidays of India.

Shiva said they focused on India's two major holidays: Diwali, the festival of lights, and Holi, the festival of colors.

She said she wants students to understand more about the holidays, especially since Diwali is India's biggest holiday.

Fifth-grader Alishbah Sulaiman, 10, said she especially enjoyed learning about the Holi and Diwali festivals.

Sulaiman said she celebrates Ramadan and Eid, and helped her mother's friends manage the booth displaying information about those Muslim holidays.

Sulaiman also said she thinks students should learn more about different cultures.

"They should have a little bit of knowledge of other cultures, so they can know more about it when they grow up," she said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

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