HS students give lessons in culture at QE

The elementary school students enjoy their monthly presentations from the high school’s Diversity Club.
Posted on 02/18/2020
Jordynn Cheatle, holding the computer, and Teddy Bevan-Xenelis, founding members of the Diversity Club, speak to QE students about Black History Month.By Gary Weckselblatt

A group of students from Quakertown Community High School has been teaching Quakertown Elementary School students about different cultures from around the world.

The high school students are with the Diversity Club, and they make the two-block walk to QE once a month to educate the younger students.

“Being a minority myself, I know what it feels like for other people not to understand my culture,” said Sierra Lee, a member of the Diversity Club. “There’s so much diversity in America, I want to help the next generation of kids understand that while people may look different we all have similarities.”

So far, the high schoolers have led programs about Hispanic heritage, Native American heritage, and Congolese and Chinese cultures. This month’s focus was Black History Month.

“They love it,” said Kerry Foley, who along with Krista Fronk are QE’s English Language Development teachers. “They get to see high school kids and learn about different cultures, different places. It opens their eyes to other cultures, other similarities. They become familiar and it helps create a comfort level for them when they meet other people.”

QCSD is a predominantly white district with small Hispanic, African-American and Asian populations. In an increasingly diverse world, having students learn about diversity and acceptance at an early age can only benefit them.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for our students to learn directly from high school students,” said QE Principal Dr. Michael Zackon, who added that these educational sessions “increase our cultural awareness and cultural competency. It’s a fabulous program with specific cultures pertinent to our QE students.”

Jordynn Cheatle and Teddy Bevan-Xenelis are the club’s founding members. In addition to Sierra, members include Abby McMullen, Amber Edwards, Hailey Gerhart, Kaja McCartney, Melanie Croissette, Liv Williams, Riya Sembhi, Sammie Edinger, Sam Barndt and Ty Everitt.

Needing an advisor to establish the club, Jordynn and Teddy approached Spanish teacher Bethany Fuller, who spearheaded the planning for this year’s MLK Day of Service.

“It’s good to start programs like this at a young age, where they can be educated and stop problems before they can be created,” Jordynn said.

Mrs. Fuller is proud of her students. “They’re volunteering their time because this is meaningful for them,” she said. “They found a way to make a difference in the community, and it’s awesome.”

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.
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