Dempsey Middle School held its second annual Diversity Fair Thursday. The event featured presentations from community organizations and student clubs.
Dempsey Assistant Principal Brittney Nowlin said the event aims to expand the students’ horizons.
“(The goal) is to kind of introduce students to different cultures,” said Nowlin, who hopes the exposure makes students “more empathetic and accepting” of people from other cultures and countries.
Nowlin operated a table where students had to write down how people can be more accepting and why that’s important. She added acceptance, tolerance, and respect are three big themes at Dempsey.
Students were given passports at the start of the event and could go to any table they liked to get their passport stamped, up to 12 times.
One of the most popular tables was operated by the Dempsey Spanish Club, which gave its visitors a taste of a Mexican soda.
“We want them to understand different cultures,” said Chase Alexander, an eighth-grader in Spanish Club.
Another popular table belonged to the Delaware County Historical Society, which featured a variety of activities for students.
Kit Gordon, a volunteer for the historical society, explained different tools and utensils that would have been used by people hundreds of years ago. She added students were given the opportunity to see what it was like to grind corn.
The historical society also had a ring-and-pin game that was played by children hundreds of years ago. Many students tried their hand at the game during the event.
“I’m not good at anything they played,” said Amanda Booth, a seventh-grader.
Anna Lance, also a seventh-grader, said she enjoyed the Diversity Fair and the historical society’s demonstration.
“I liked that we got to learn about other cultures and the world,” she said.
Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS) Community Engagement Specialist Sarah Huffman displayed a number of flags on her table at the fair and played a game with students to identify the flags. Huffman said CRIS is one of two refugee and immigration services in Columbus, and she was focused on teaching students about immigration and refugees, while clearing up misunderstandings.
“It’s really important to learn about refugees and immigrants to combat anti-refugee sentiment,” Huffman said. “The United States was found on the principal that immigrants are welcome here.”
Levi Collins, a seventh-grader, said he enjoyed learning about different things during the fair, and even though he enjoyed the Mexican soda the most, he’d probably join French Club because French would be more useful if he travels to Europe one day.
Nowlin said this year’s fair had 18 booths, an increase over the original 10 booths from a year ago. She’s hopeful the fair only grows in the future.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG