Hillside Elementary celebrates culture with game night

To celebrate its diversity, Hillside Elementary School in Farmington Hills last month hosted a night of games from around the world.

Stratego Hillside Cultural Game Night
Hillside students learn Stratego, a game from Denmark.

”Cultural Game Night came as a result of feedback and discussion among our parents and staff,” said Principal Rob Kauffman. “We are so fortunate at Hillside to have students from all over the world. Cultural game night was a great opportunity to come together in community and celebrate our traditions, our differences, and our unique cultures!”

Hillside Cultural Game Night
Student leaders created signs and brochures for Hillside’s Cultural Game Night.

About 44 percent of Hillside students speak English as a second language; more than a third are Asian-American, 21 percent are African-American and two percent are Hispanic.

Families tried cricket, virtual reality games, and a number of board games like Mancala (Egypt), Stratego (Denmark), and Carom (India).

Hillside Cultural Game Night Cricket
Hillside students played cricket, a bat-and-ball game enjoyed around the world.

Students spearheaded planning for the event, from research to promotion. Hillside is a “Leader in Me” school; the school improvement model encourages leadership through the principles in Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Mahjong Hillside Cultural Game Night
Parents learn Mahjong, a Chinese tile game, during Hillside’s Cultural Game Night.

Student Lighthouse Team leader and 3rd grade teacher Nichole Kherkher said her group was approached by the school’s PTA (Parent Teacher Association) to help plan the Cultural Game Night.

Among other activities, they created video ads that were played on the school’s Facebook page, designed flyers and other advertising, and created an event brochure.

Hillside Elementary Carom
Hillside families played Carom, a game from India, during Cultural Game Night. 

“From the beginning of the planning stages, they wanted to stay in for recess and lunch to research games from all around the world,” Kherkher said. “These magnificent students helped plan and carry out this amazing experience. They even have ideas for next year! I’m really proud of them and thank them for such a great experience.”

Mancala Hillside Cultural Game Night
Mancala, from Egypt, was among the games played during Hillside’s Cultural Game Night.

Hillside is doing multiple events to engage families. Kauffman is initiating Coffee and Conversation at Independence Green Apartments to meet parents and share information with families in that neighborhood. The event makes it easier for those who find it hard to drive to school to meet the principal, teachers, and PTA members.

Kauffman and Dean of Students Stefanie Borysiak will conduct a training for parents who enjoy volunteering and/or leading groups at Hillside. The training will give them the strategies for dealing with large groups and individual students in volunteer capacities.

Information and photos submitted by Hillside parent Triman Jagdev. Share what’s happening at your school by writing to  joni@farmingtonvoice.com

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