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Westminster pupils travel world from class to class Children cross 'borders' to learn


Students carried around little passports as they hopped from France to Ghana, from Norway to Israel, from Bulgaria to Greece, all within the walls of William Winchester Elementary School.

The Westminster school held a "Passport to the World" day Friday. Each class studied a different country, then decorated the room and hada guest come in to speak about the country.

Children got to choose six countries to visit and had their passports stamped each time they entered a different "land."

Some classrooms invited natives of Israel, the Philippines, Finland, Norway, Ghana and Holland. Other classrooms had parents, teachers or other volunteers who had been to the country or had other background in it, said parent Kelly Sullivan of Westminster.

In kindergarten teacher Mary King's room, students, parents and teachers listened amazed as Norwegian exchange student Stina Sollid described how high the snow gets in her hometown, Setermoen, in northern Norway.

"School has never been canceled [there] because of snow," said Ms. Sollid, 18. She has been attending Westminster High School since August and has seen school closed here seven times this year.

When a parent asked how students got to school in Setermoen, Ms. Sollid replied they had snowplows and rugged tires.

In Ghana, otherwise known as teacher Bettie Bohr's classroom, Ghanaian Kevin Wong fielded many questions about how to say certain words, such as gym and church, in one of the several languages spoken in his country.

Since English is spoken in the schools, Mr. Wong said, they call gym class "physical education."

"P.E., for short," he said.

Mr. Wong, 21, is a student at Western Maryland College.

He also told a tale of Ananzi, a very greedy spider, that many students in the school already know from one of their reading books.

"How long would it take you to get from Westminster to Ghana?" asked second-grader Darren Artuso.

"About 2 1/2 days," Mr. Wong said. "First you have to take a plane to Europe."

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