[caption id="attachment_23199" align="aligncenter" width="600"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2018\/12\/DSC_0534.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="376" class="size-full wp-image-23199" \/> In "Sweden," Luci Mosesso told students the story of St. Lucia, while wearing St. Lucia's candle crown and carrying her traditional tray of coffee and pastries.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nLaura Dean Bennett \r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nIt was as though Marlinton Elementary School had become a mini version of Disney\u2019s Epcot Center last Tuesday as students took a whirlwind tour around the world to learn how people elsewhere celebrate their special holidays. \r\n\r\n\u201cHolidays Around the World\u201d Day was a school-wide event devoted to sampling a tiny bit of culture from 13 different countries. \r\n\r\nKaitlyn Wratchford, Special Education teacher at Marlinton Elementary, had a good idea.\r\n\r\nShe knew that her students enjoyed learning about the holidays that other countries and cultures celebrate, and she thought that all the students at the elementary school would, too. \r\n\r\nHer friend, Shannon Anderson, a kindergarten teacher at Marlinton Elementary, agreed. \r\n\r\n\u201cWhat a good opportunity for our kids to learn about other cultures and have fun at the same time,\u201d Anderson said.\r\n\r\nThey took their idea to the \u201cpowers that be\u201d and sure enough, it received a warm reception.\r\n\r\nUsing an online educational package on the subject, which included an outline as to how to organize the event, and piles of craft materials, Wratchford and Anderson began planning.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe started getting organized and pulling everything together before Thanksgiving,\u201d Wratchford said.\r\n\r\nIt all came together December 18, which was designated \u201cHolidays Around the World\u201d Day. \r\n\r\n\u201cWe got a really good response from the community,\u201d Wratchford said. \u201cAnd the kids really enjoyed it.\u201d \r\n\r\nIt truly was a group effort. \r\n\r\nMarlinton Elementary PTO paid for the materials and paid for lunch for the community volunteers. \r\n\r\nAnd the eleven community volunteers really got into the swing of it.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_23200" align="alignleft" width="400"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2018\/12\/DSC_0538.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="629" class="size-full wp-image-23200" \/> While visiting \u201cIndia,\u201d the international "travelers" tasted an Indian dessert called carrot halwa as Christina Smith, wearing her beautiful sari, explained Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights. L.D. Bennett photos[\/caption]\r\n\r\nThey spent the entire school day doing presentations \u2013 some wore costumes and some brought special holiday foods to share with the students.\r\n\r\nSeveral teachers made presentations, too. With faux passports in hand, the students began their international adventure.\r\nEach classroom was designated a different country, and the students were given 25 minutes to make a craft, play a game or enjoy a presentation about a holiday celebrated in each country. \r\n\r\nThe countries represented were: Italy, Netherlands, Israel, Mexico, England, Germany, Australia, Sweden, American Kwaanza, France, Greenland, India and Canada.\r\n\r\nIn \u201cItaly,\u201d the youngsters were treated to homemade pizzelles made by Greg and Cathy Mosesso. \r\n\r\nPizzelles are round, waffle-like traditional Italian Christmas cookies.\r\n\r\nGreg Mosesso shared the pizzelles as he talked about Italian Christmas traditions.\r\n\r\nThey learned about a holiday called Las Posadas and painted poinsettias in \u201cMexico,\u201d colored and cut out stockings in \u201cEngland,\u201d played the dreidle game in \u201cIsrael,\u201d and wrote \u201cDear Santa\u201d letters in \u201cCanada.\u201d\r\n\r\nVisiting \u201cIndia\u201d was really interesting as teacher Christina Smith explained Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, while wearing her beautiful sari. \r\n\r\nAnd the students visiting India tasted an Indian dessert called carrot halwa.\r\n\r\nThey got crafty and made gingerbread men in \u201cGermany,\u201d and a kinara as they learned how Kwaanza is celebrated in America. \r\n\r\nDuring Kwaanza, seven candles are placed in a kinara, which is the Swahili word for candleholder.\r\n\r\nThere were Dutch shoes made in the \u201cNetherlands,\u201d reindeer crafts made in \u201cGreenland\u201d and koala crafts in \u201cAustralia.\u201d\r\n\r\nMany children found Australia to be particularly interesting.\r\n\r\nFifth grader Braelyn Gibson said that she would like to travel to Australia some day.\r\n\r\nTanner Smith, who is in the fourth grade, was quite surprised to learn that kangaroos can also pull Santa\u2019s sleigh.\r\n\r\nKindergartener Jason Ligget loved making the koala bear craft.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe had to have a hat on it, because it\u2019s Christmas!\u201d he said, laughing.\r\n\r\nIn Sweden, they were treated to a visit by St. Lucia, convincingly played by Luci Mosesso, who arrived wearing a traditional candle crown and carrying St. Lucia\u2019s requisite tray of coffee and pastries.\r\n\r\nAs the students visited the Netherlands, they made paper shoes and learned that on the night of December 5, Dutch children leave their shoes out for Sinterklauss the way we leave out our stockings for Santa on Christmas Eve.\r\n\r\nThe staff and students all agreed that the day spent traveling the world was a day well-spent. \r\n\r\nMulticultural educational activities like this are more than fun \u2013 they are also an important tool in teaching our children to acknowledge, embrace and respect people\u2019s differences.\r\n\r\n\u201cI got several comments from teachers the morning after \u2018Holidays Around the World Day,\u2019 telling me how much their students enjoyed learning about the different countries and the different ways kids in other countries celebrate holidays,\u201d Wratchford said. \u201cThat makes me so happy. \r\n\r\n\u201cIt\u2019s important for our students to be exposed to different customs and cultures to understand that there\u2019s a whole wide world outside of Pocahontas County.\u201d \r\n\r\nChristina Smith contributed to this article.