Students sitting in front of Fatma Abuseda and Yara Zrigan stretched up in their seats, waving their hands in hopes of asking their burning questions.
“Who is Libya’s biggest ally?” one boy near the front asked the two Bauder Elementary School fifth graders. “How big is Tripoli?” questioned another. “Why did your family move here?” a girl near the front asked.
Fatma and Yara beamed at the class and took turns responding to their schoolmates’ questions about Libya, the country where both students lived before moving to the United States. Their presentation was part of Bauder Elementary School’s biannual Flag Day Parade, an event that encourages students who have immigrated to the U.S. to teach other students about their native countries.
Students in the school get “passport stamps” after each presentation and locate the countries they learned about on a map. Students across the school listened intently as their peers gave presentations about places including Iraq, Mexico and Peru.
Some students brought food to share with other students. Others wore traditional garb from their countries.
Fatma and Yara talked about Libyan food and culture – Yara said her favorite part about living there was how close she was to the beach – and answered their classmates questions about a variety of questions including Islam, politics and geography.
After their presentation concluded, the students flocked outside, where they watched the official Flag Day Parade. Students who presented walked around the school carrying their native country’s flag, a final opportunity for students to explore new cultures.
“I wanted them to learn about our holidays and our profits,” Yara said.