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World Cultures Day: ‘A total success’

Dennis Lee Rogers, Native American Navajo, dazzled students with his traditional sand painting skills. He walked students through Navajo history while creating a painting as the students watched. Rogers is an educator, motivational speaker, artist and entertainer that often performs with the country band Blackhawk. Submitted photo1 / 2
Pelican Rapids High School sent Muslim ambassadors to World Cultures Day to talk to Perham students about their Islamic faith. Submitted photo2 / 2

Students had the chance to learn about other countries, cultures and beliefs at Perham High School’s 2nd annual World Cultures Day, held last Wednesday.

According to World Cultures Day coordinator and high school social studies teacher Shelley Bunkowske, “the day was a total success!”

Thomasina Petrus, from Mixed Blood Theatre out of the Twin Cities, performed“African Daughters,” for World Cultures Day.

Pastor Phil Arndt taught students about Russia, while in the next room Lauren Anderson discussed her mission work in Nicaragua. In another room nearby, PHS foreign exchange students Signe Jepsen and Maria Martin talked about their homelands, Denmark and Spain.

Then there was Alexis Peichel, who took students on a trip to Spain through pictures and commentary. Nayeli Ramirez, Erika Urbano, Mariana Alvarado, and Julisa Gonzalez, Hispanic students at PHS, shared a variety of foods and traditions of Mexico.

Students also learned first-hand from Melissa Hermes of Fergus Falls about her Peace Corps experiences in Chad, Africa. Garrett Bunkowske explained his working experiences at the bottom of the world, Antarctica. And Fargo police officer, Cristie Jacobsen, along with Lutheran Social Services Cultural Liaisons, talked about their jobs working with new immigrants in the Red River Valley.

In addition, Pelican Rapids sent student ambassadors to explain their Muslim religion to Perham students, and Pasibeth Seeman, native Filipino and Perham area parent, explained her culture and the transitions she made after moving to America.

Returning to PHS for his second appearance at World Cultures Day was Dennis Rogers, who demonstrated traditional Navajo sand painting while sharing his Native American culture through stories and music. 

Also performing was Thomasina Petrus, a well-known actress from Mixed Blood Theatre of the Twin Cities. She ended World Cultures Day with “African Daughters,” a show that walked PHS students through African American women’s history in the United States, from slavery to the first African American First Lady, Michelle Obama.