By Josette Keelor
Global Awareness Day at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown will invite the community into a celebration of world diversity.
The day of free programs, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, includes the history and culture of El Salvador, Iran, Mexico, Ghana, Bulgaria, Poland, South Australia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Participating students and professors are either international students, have traveled abroad or have an interest in other cultures, said Virginia Hartman, associate professor in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs.
The annual event began in 1992, and Hartman said it changes each year depending on the countries students want to feature.
"I think it's just kind of amazing to folks how many international students are represented here," she said.
LFCC serves more than 10,450 students each year, according to its website, and this year has 128 international students representing 42 countries, a press release from the school states.
Wednesday's event will include a 1 p.m. presentation by guest speaker and professor Jeff Hollar, who recently visited the Republic of Ghana in West Africa.
Presenting on Poland during the 11 a.m. to noon timeslot will be Denise Anderson, whose great-grandfather lived in Poland.
"My father's first language was Polish," she said, though he lived in Pennsylvania. He learned from his mother, who spoke Polish at home.
Anderson's grandparents were coal miners and her great-grandfather raised canaries.
"In coal mining what they would do is let the canaries through the coal mines," she said. If the canaries stopped singing, the miners knew the air was unsafe for humans, too."
Anderson, whose maiden name is Psioda, was a stay-at-home mom for 14 years before returning to school. On Wednesday, she will show Polish documents, demonstrate polka dancing and talk about the traditions her family still follows.
"For Christmas, we would set an extra place for anybody that just wanders in," she said.
"For Easter, we would have a Polish meal that consists of their meat." The meal includes ham, bologna, kielbasa and pepperoni mixed with sauerkraut and hard boiled egg, and she said her dad still gives the Easter blessing each year.
At 2 p.m., Grethel Sarmiento will present the culture of El Salvador, where she and her family lived before moving to Winchester eight years ago.
A senior studying to be a medical administrative assistant and transcriptionist, she wants to teach others about the music, clothing, dancing and history of her home country.
"We are always welcoming people from other countries," she said. "We are people who like to be around others. We enjoy being with the family, being with friends."
For more information, call 540-868-7000 or visit www.lfcc.edu.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org