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Student-organized international culture fair aims to teach tolerance to Roseburg students

Joseph Lane Middle School (SBG photo)

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- How do you stop bullying before it stops? One way is to boost understanding of those who are different from us. That’s the goal of Monday’s program at Joseph Lane Middle School, where people representing 16 nations will meet with 250-plus sixth graders for an international culture fair and assembly, Roseburg Public Schools said Wednesday.

Presenters ranging in age from teens to octogenarians will gather at the school for two programs on Monday, April 24. From 11:30 to 12:20 p.m., students will rotate through a tabletop international fair in the library. There they will meet presenters surrounded by everyday items (pictures, maps, clothing, games, art) that help tell stories of their cultures, organizers said.

From 1:15 to 2:17 p.m., everyone will take part in an assembly and panel interview in the cafeteria. Here, representatives of the 16 nations will take questions about their culture, their journeys to this country, how people in their respective nations handle conflict and other subjects that will help students better understand customs and practices in other countries.

Both sessions are features of the BRAVE World program organized by JoLane seventh grader Marin Gray. (BRAVE stands for Building Respect and Value for Everyone.)

Marin, who also holds the title of 2017 Miss Oregon Junior High, got the idea for the event as her family was talking over some of the causes of bullying. She developed BRAVE World as a way to give her peers insight into what it is like to have to assimilate into someone else’s culture, and to increase understanding and appreciation of other cultures.

Six community groups are joining forces to help pull together BRAVE World.

Marin will wear her Miss Oregon Junior High crown and sash as she conducts the program.

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