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Union County Early College students ‘Go Greek’

Students Christina Langston and Jonea Stewart are pictured with guards in traditional Greek costumes.

Students from Union County Early College’s English III classes attended the Yiasou Greek Festival at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Charlotte recently.

“A popular annual event, Yiasou features cuisine, entertainment, shopping, art, and cultural exhibits,” said UCEC English teacher Liz Washburn.

Washburn said that visitors may also listen to a presentation about the history of the Greek Orthodox Church, the design of the cathedral, and view a changing of the guards by costumed warriors.

“Prior to the trip English III students had been exploring Thomas C. Foster’s ‘How to Read Literature like a Professor’,” she said. “In mid-August, when my class was discussing a chapter from this work entitled, ‘It’s Greek to Me,’ I was inspired to organize a trip where students would be able to learn more about the influence of Greek culture on the world.”

She also saw how the experience of Greek immigrants in Charlotte—preserving their heritage while advancing economically—relates to the idea of The American Dream, a concept which English III students will analyze and discuss when they read “The Great Gatsby” later in the semester.

Attending the event offered a chance to pair learning experiences with food and entertainment, she said.

UCEC students seemed to enjoy the experience. Rachelle Zielazienski stated, “I learned all about the meanings of the structure of the church,” while Alexis Garcia said, “I liked the exhibits—the ones with the artifacts in them.”

Christina Langston said, “I liked the music and the food. The loukoumades [honey-covered fried pastries] were delicious.”

Student Drew Covert echoed this appreciation of the cuisine by stating, “I had a gyro and pita. It tasted pretty good.”

The 2013 Yiasou (Greek for hello, good-bye, and cheers) Greek Festival was held from September 5 to 8.

Each year more than 50,000 guests attend this cultural event. For further details go to: http://www.yiasoufestival.org/.

Written by: UCEC English teacher Liz Washburn
Posted: Sep 17, 2013 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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