Waukee High School Holds Annual International Panel
On October 11, Waukee High School’s International Club hosted a panel made up of 30 of their peers from different nationalities. The panel was held during second and fourth block and allowed students to further their knowledge about various cultures at their school.
“The International Panel is one of the highlights of my year, every year. I love that International Club introduces international students to the rest of the student body and shows our school how culturally rich Waukee Community School District is,” said International Club founder and sponsor Tammy Getting.
The event opened with three different music videos from India, Germany, and France. After introducing the audience to the sounds of those cultures, senior Kyler Johnson and sophomore Samantha Stewart discussed their experience studying abroad in Germany for three weeks. The two were awarded the experience after earning exceptional scores on the National German Exam.
“I made international connections and friendships that I hope I will be able to maintain for a lifetime on my trip to Germany,” said Johnson.
The panel was made up of student volunteers who represented Bosnia, India, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, Finland, Spain, Japan, Australia, Russia, Pakistan, Iraq, Hong Kong, and Kenya. The students were either born in a different country or have parents who were born and raised in a foreign country. Districtwide, 55 languages are spoken by students from 62 different countries.
“In a school as large as Waukee High School, it is essential that we provide a space for diversity to grow and for important discussions to take place,” explained one of the club’s presidents Olivia Gagnon, who has been a member of the club since 2015.
Audience members passed a microphone around asking the panel questions ranging from favorite foods to stories from overseas.
When asked about the differences between America and their birth country, junior member Nawal Awan saw a clear difference. “My parents are from India. If this was my first time to America from India the first thing I would ask is why are teenagers driving? In India, you have to be 18 or older to drive,” she said.
This panel is just one of the activities the International Club provides for students. The club is all-inclusive, giving students who are new to the country and those who were born in America a chance to connect through the different characteristics of their nationalities. International Club meets in room 736, every Wednesday morning at 7:30.