This spring, Wellington School students have been focusing on global causes and learning about other cultures.

This spring, Wellington School students have been focusing on global causes and learning about other cultures.

Lower School students recently participated in an international festival, while high school senior Allison Lewis is planning the second Camp Out for a Cause, a benefit for the Lost Children of Uganda.

The benefit, which is being held today (April 24) at the school, 3650 Reed Road, is designed to assist Ugandan refugees.

"It's a night of building awareness and raising money," Lewis said. "Wellington's a great environment for it. There's a lot of support here."

Lewis said she first became aware of the Ugandan refugees' cause two years ago when she was in a local ice cream shop and saw a poster for "Invisible Children," a documentary chronicling the issue.

Lewis got involved with the cause by traveling to Chicago with several of her classmates to participate in a fundraiser. Participants spent the night in Wrigley Field to raise money and awareness for the cause.

"The idea was to sleep outside and feel what the kids in Uganda feel," Lewis said.

Her experience in Chicago inspired Lewis to organize the first Camp Out for a Cause last year at Wellington, which raised $7,000. This year's event is open to the public from 7 to 11 p.m. and will include a screening of "Invisible Children," games and food. Participants will be asked to make donations in whatever amounts they feel appropriate. After 11 p.m., students will camp out at the school.

While Camp Out for a Cause is designed to raise awareness of the Ugandan plight, Wellington students also learned about other cultures at the school's annual international festival on April 14.

The purpose of the festival is "to get the kids excited about visiting another country," said Spanish teacher Erin Noviski.

Eighth-grade students studying French and Spanish researched the culture, customs and cuisine of countries where those languages are spoken. The students made displays with photos, graphics and descriptions of each country.

"We let them choose (which countries to explore), based on what language they're studying," said French teacher Megan Wittmann.

Rather than simply relaying facts about each country, the students acted as unofficial ambassadors, persuading their fellow students "why would someone would want to visit this country," Noviski said.

French-speaking countries represented included Belgium, Tahiti and Algeria.

Wilfred Denton and Brandon Fiksel made couscous, pasta made with finely ground wheat flour, to represent Algeria's cuisine.

"We learned the architecture and the food are influenced by the Middle East and the French," Denton said.

"We also thought Algeria was a cool landscape," Fiksel said.

Spanish-speaking countries included Mexico, Venezuela and Ecuador.

Abigail Postle and Bianca Doerschlag made empanadas, stuffed pastries popular in Latin America, to represent the cuisine of Ecuador.

"We wanted to find out something about a country we didn't know anything about," Postle said.

Postle and Doerschlag said they also found Ecuador interesting because of its proximity to the Galapagos Islands.

"Two hundred new species were found there," Postle said.

The international festival also included a performance by African drummer Sogbety Diomande, a native of the Ivory Coast, where French is spoken.