Flavors abound at junior high International Day in Oak Brook
Music teacher Richard Sobak teaches some Spanish music on the guitar to sixth-graders Eva Vukajlovic and Jaclyn Wittrock, both of Oak Brook, during Butler Junior High's International Day. | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 29, 2013 2:14AM
OAK BROOK — Lunch had a very international flavor Friday for students at Butler Junior High.
Foods representing India, Germany, Syria, Italy and Greece all were part of Butler’s annual International Day. The PTO-sponsored event included volunteers from that organization set up at various stations in the school’s cafeteria to serve food. Syria was new to the fold this year, replacing Central America. The Syrian food included falafel and both chicken and beef shawarma.
And while the food certainly was a major focus of International Day, students also had the opportunities to contribute to a piece of mosaic art that will be displayed at Butler, learning about and have the opportunity to try playing cricket, and learning about Spanish guitar and art.
“International Day is about exposure for our students to different customs and cultures,” Butler Principal Stephanie Palmer said. “We want them to get out of their comfort zones a bit and experience some new foods things they haven’t before.”
Palmer said the non-food experiences this year took on a new twist.
“We did things this year that were hands-on,” she said. “It’s a great chance to let them really experience some things.”
Eighth-grader Nicholas Kim said he enjoyed his first-ever time playing cricket.
“We watched a video and then tried it,” he said. “It was fun because it was something new. It was very British.”
Some students took the chance at trying new foods, with mixed results.
“I tried this and spit it out; I didn’t really care for it,” seventh-grader Sophia Karris said of the gulab jamun she tasted.
Gulab jamun is a cheese-based Indian dessert.
Sixth-grader Zachary Griffith found an Indian food he enjoyed after trying it for the first time: paneer, sometimes known as Indian cottage cheese.
“I tried a lot of different things and liked the Indian food,” Zachary said.
Tammy Luther, a co-sponsor of the event along with Sheera Poskin, was pleased the PTO was able to offer a variety of foods to Butler students for International Day. Groups of PTO members worked together to purchase from local restaurants and then serve the food to students.