“I love those,” said T.J. Thomas, pointing at a colorful Japanese kimono. Thomas was one of the many students at Irving Elementary School who participated in the annual “Passport to the World” event, an intercultural program organized by teachers and parents at Irving.

During the event, students visited various display tables, representing numerous countries, from Nigeria to Ireland. They each carried a “passport” and were required to receive stamps from the parents manning each table.

“I think it’s a great way to give the kids a little taste of the world,” said Alejandro Escalona, helping a student put on a replica of an ancient Mayan headdress at the Mexico table.

Like Escalona, most of the parents who volunteered to host the various tables were natives of the represented country.

The items on display included clothes, tablecloths, coins, books, handicrafts, maps, flags, photos, holiday items and foods.

“Can I try?” asked a student as she watched Ceal Bacom, hosting Ireland, play a traditional flute.

At each table, parents spoke about the country, often throwing in a word or two in their native tongue. They also put on a small demonstration”playing a musical instrument or donning a traditional costume.

Some of the countries represented include India, Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Germany, China, Japan and Ireland.

Though each class of students had only a few minutes to peruse before the next class arrived, those minutes were well used in exploration as they asked questions and tried out various toys, costumes and foods.

“I think the great thing about this event is that it shows the kids that people from different countries do different things, and that is absolutely OK,” said Laura Hostetter, hosting China.

When the next class arrived, Lynda Shadrake, a parent organizer of the event, rang a bell signaling the switch. Then the students vacated the display area and gathered in the hallway for a wrap-up reading of poetry by Amy Maddox.

“He prayed”it wasn’t my religion; he ate”it wasn’t what I ate; he spoke”it wasn’t my language; he dressed”it wasn’t what I wore; he took my hand”it wasn’t the color of mine … but when he laughed”it was how I laughed; and when he cried”it was how I cried,” the students recited.

Not sorry: Prabha Agrawal shows students how to turn a piece of fabric into a sari.

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