More than 340 Arlington Heights students and their families recently celebrated the culture and cuisine of Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods with Westgate's World's Fair 2013.
Modeled after the theme of Chicago's World's Fair of 1893, third-grade teachers at the Arlington Heights elementary school culminated their students' studies of Chicago this month with a celebration of eight cultures.
More than 125 students conducted independent research by exploring the history, immigration, arts, culture as well as the sports and games of each of the ethnic populations of Chicago including the Polish immigrants of Jefferson Park; Turkish/Eastern Mediterranean of Rogers Park; Mexican immigrants of Pilsen and Little Village; Greek immigrants of Greektown; Chinese immigrants of Chinatown; Italian immigrants of Little Italy; German immigrants of Lincoln Square and Irish immigrants from the neighborhoods of Beverly and Bridgeport.
Students compiled their findings in slideshow presentations displayed at each of the eight countries represented at the World's Fair in the Westgate Commons Oct. 23, along with artwork, crafts, country maps and life-size flags created by students.
"We were thrilled with the more than 340 people who attended our open house to learn about cultures from around the world that have settled in Chicago," said Kelly Darby, a native of Frankfurt, Germany, and one of seven third-grade teachers at Westgate who organized the event. "We're also grateful for being able to donate $439 to the local food pantry and for the generosity of the local restaurants."
Local ethnic restaurants donated tastings of shepherd's pie from Peggy Kinnane's Irish Restaurant and Pub of Arlington Heights; Middle Eastern hummus with pitas from Falafel Bistro of Rolling Meadows, Tres Leches Mexican cake from Javier's Restaurant of Arlington Heights; German sausages and sauerkraut from Bauer's Brauhaus of Palatine; chicken shish kebabs from Jameson's Charhouse of Arlington Heights; sesame chicken from Chef Ping's of Rolling Meadows plus Polish cheese pierogies from Kalinowski European Style Bakery of Mount Prospect and yardstick pizzas from Armand's Pizzeria of Arlington Heights.
Julie Jurgens, of the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, led students in storytelling of different cultures while Westgate physical education teacher, Coach Eric Kirschner, taught students in the gym the art of Chinese jump rope.
Earlier this month, Westgate's third-grade class saw Chicago up close and personal in a Wendella architectural cruise along the Chicago River.