Christmas, as many know, is a time of happiness and congregation among friends and family. It is a time of giving. At Edward Little High School, this was done in a very special way.

This holiday event actually had two parts – a lunch feast and a unique gift giving that we, in the English Language Learners classroom, called a “Yankee Swap.” These events were held in the ELL room at the high school, with students from all over the world with different cultures and points of view.

The events took place the week before Christmas vacation so the students, as well as the teachers, were very excited. The teachers, Mrs. Nancy Martin and Mrs. Linda Galway, were the ESL teachers in charge, but there were other teachers who also came and paid a visit.

Other students who took part included Roun Said, Elham Salah, Thuy Tran, Mohamed Haji-Hersi, Garte Sosmena, Muna Yonis, Delcy Romero, Mahamed Hersi, Maryan Janay, Sahra Odowa, Halima Mohamed, Julie Ramirez, Mohamud Muse, Sagal Odowa, Mariam Haji-Hersi, Kaltuma Janay, Yasmin Mohamed, Kat Donahue, and former EL student Lisa Schinderlein and her sister from Germany, who visited the classroom that day to take part in the festivities.

Unlike the Thanksgiving feast earlier last year, instead of the teachers, the students were the ones who were in charge of the foods that were to be enjoyed. Some of the delicious and interesting foods were pansit (from the Philippines), tamales (from Latin America), mishmash (from Vietnam), Sambosa (from Somalia) and many other items from around the world. The meal was great.

For games we played Dreidel, a Jewish game; card games; and board games. Later in the day, the gift time came. First we had the normal gift giving in which each student gave another student a small gift. The way in which each student found out who to give the gift to was a name draw done earlier in the week. Then, after each student received their gift, they had to guess who had given them their gift. After that, the Yankee Swap took place.

In this game every one had to buy a small gift that was to be used later. Then everyone received a number in the range from 1-21. Then as everyone sat in a circle, the person with the number 1 got to choose any wrapped gift they wanted from the ones that were piled up on a table by the students. Then Number 2 did the same. The fun part was if Number 2 preferred Number 1’s gift, he or she could trade. This went on until Number 21 who could choose from all the gifts. It might seem unfair for Number 1, but after Number 21 opened the last gift, Number 1 was able to choose from all the gifts. Lucky for Number 1! Throughout the whole day, everyone had fun, but the main thing about it all was to have so many different people together as one to have fun with each other. I, as well as other students, thought of this as a fun experience. Even through our differences, our diversity, we were able to learn about each other’s cultures and we had lots of fun.


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