Travel fair at Saint Paul M.S. provides cultural enrichment

Susan S. Johnson

The annual Travel Fair has become a right of passage for students at Saint Paul School.

BERLIN, Connecticut — Saint Paul School in Kensington is the only catholic school in the state that puts on a travel fair where middle school students combine their love for history and creativity to create a one-of-a-kind experience. 

The annual Travel Fair has become a right of passage for students at Saint Paul School. 

“I’ve always looked forward to this since I was little,” said Ciara Colón, 8th Grade. “I’ve been here since Kindergarten, so a long time.” 

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For more than twenty years, 6-8th grade students have transformed the school’s gymnasium into a global museum filled with culture, art, and history. 

It’s all coordinated by history and geography teacher John Grant who assigned students a project at the beginning of the year.  

“Each student picks a state or province or country, and they research all year long and find out about the people, the sports, and the food in the buildings and go through a series of assignments,” explained Grant. 

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Year after year, teachers are amazed at the work students create. 

“Even if the same locations are picked, sometimes it’s the way that each student runs with it it’s always so interesting to see,” explained Heather Thibdeau, History Teacher.

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Projects are graded, and a panel of judges awards ribbons to the top projects in each Grade. 

“When people view these projects, they’ll see the common theme of what it’s like to live in that country based on the landscape and the culture,” explained Thibdeau. “They’re going to see what their location looks like in terms of geography, what it’s like to live there, and what it’s been like historically.”

Katie Parulski spent months working on her project focused on British of Columbia, Canada and placed first in her 7th-grade class. 

“I just love watching a come together because it’s satisfying to see after all the work we put in, and I learned a lot of new things,” said Parulski. 

Colón focused on Egypt and said she also spent several months preparing her display for the Travel fair. She placed second in her 8th Grade class and said she hopes to take this experience with her after she graduates. 

“It’s really about transporting the person to your country and letting them learn and take it all in with the culture,” said Colón. 

This is precisely the point the school hopes to make year after year. 

“It’s important for them to realize that people around the world are good and they have a whole lot to contribute, and they have interesting customs and religions food and clothes, and it gives them a good sense of global awareness that they’re a part of a bigger family,” explained Grant. 

Wednesday is the last day of the cultural Travel fair for families and friends. However, you can view photos of all the displays HERE

Raquel Harrington is the race and culture reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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