Hiram College

While it’s almost impossible for a sixth grader to travel the world, that’s exactly what 115 students from  James A. Garfield Elementary School did today at Hiram College’s World Fair.

Sayuri Watanabe (left) and Ryogo Suzuki (right) sing “Sakura” a song about cherry blossoms.e world, that’s exactly what 115 sixth graders from James A. Garfield Intermediate School did today at Hiram College’s World Fair.

The students spent the morning touring 11 different countries, including Australia, Afghanistan, Philippines and Japan, and listening to presentations from international and study abroad students. Afterwards they headed over to Hayden Auditorium to experience different cultures up close.

Under the leadership of Kathy Maretka, director of student teaching and field experience, students in Hiram College’s Education Department have partnered with the College’s International Student Services Office to host the program for the past 10 years.

The show kicked off with Bhutanese dancing and was followed by Japanese students Sayuri Watanabe and Ryogo Suzuki singing the traditional Japanese folk song “Sakura.” Other performances included a soft-shoed Irish dance, an African drum ensemble and reading of the book “Hello Ocean” in Spanish entitled “Hola Mar.”

The African drum ensemble engaged students who previously took Hiram College’s African Ensemble class. Hiram students invited two sixth graders to join them on stage as they taught them the song.

“The World Fair is a chance to travel the world while staying in the United States,” said Josiah Berry, member of the ensemble. “To quote St. Augustine, ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel only read a page.’”