When it was their turn Friday morning, seventh- and eighth-grade students at Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School walked onto a makeshift stage and sang two songs — one in Chinese, the other in Spanish.
And in the front and center of the group stood seventh-grader Elliott Rose.
With a microphone in hand, he helped belt out the songs — something he said was his favorite part of the annual celebration held at the school in honor of International Mother Language Day and the Chinese New Year.
“I’ve been here studying Spanish and Chinese for eight years so it’s not that hard to learn anymore,” he said.
This year was the 11th year of the celebration, said Chairwoman of World Languages Kuangchi Lee.
“It’s a showcase of languages and cultures,” she said.
When administrators can, they also try to get outside performers to come to Young Scholars for the event.
Lee said former performances included a Chinese shadow puppet show and Shanghai Chinese Orchestra concert.
But most other years, the highlights of the celebrations feature students.
It was that way Friday when students performed songs in Chinese and Spanish, read poems in Bangladeshi and participated in a fashion show.
Teacher Helena Khan said more than 50 students in kindergarten through eighth-grade flaunted attire from 27 countries, including Indonesia, Iraq, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Ukraine and Vietnam.
“Some students even (represented) the country where they or their families come from,” Khan said.
But one thing new this year was an English second language program, which allowed students who don’t speak English fluently to perform activities in English.
“For the most part, the event is the same, but it’s fun for the kids and their parents,” Lee said.