Andrew High School students engaged all five senses at the school's annual Global Expo, which exposed them to various cultural artifacts and foods.
About a dozen students representing different parts of the world set up tables at the vent before Thanksgiving. Southeast Asian students brought egg rolls for their peers to taste. Hispanic students serenaded their peers with the sounds of Spanish radio.
Middle Eastern students brought in prayer rugs and the Koran. One group of students showed off matryoshka dolls, or Russian nesting dolls, alongside items from Germany and Ireland.
"It's a lot of fun because you learn things that you never knew before about a bunch of different regions all over the world," said Suhair Said, a senior and president of Project Diversity, an organization with 110 students at the school.
"When I first came here, I didn't think I would leave my little social group, which is like the Middle Eastern population, but I have friends from south Asia, southeast Asia, Africa, Europe, and I learned a lot of things about their countries," Said said.
Alana Monroe, a foreign language teacher, helped sponsor the event. She said students are often surprised by what they learn about other cultures. The annual event began when Dr. James Gay, District 230's current superintendent, was still at the school.
"I think that the kids that are involved, like the club members, love it," Monroe said. "They eat it up like candy. They love having the opportunity to kind of showcase their background and teach their peers."
Andrew's student body is 81 percent white, 2.8 percent black, 10 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian, .2 percent Native American and 1.3 percent multiracial, according to the 2013 Illinois State Board of Education school report card.
Principal Bob Nolting said the event helps educate students on the "wide range of cultures" not just at the school, "but in Chicago and beyond."
"To see kids share their cultures, talk about their ancestry, and meet others with similar backgrounds who they may not have already known is really an amazing thing."