Students from all over the world and attendees from the greater Saco / Biddeford area joined together in Linnell Gymnasium on Saturday, March 24 for Thornton Academy’s fourth annual International Fair. Organized and run by students, this fair features booths from fifteen different countries with food, games, and musical performances.
Senior Monika Kaczorowska, from Poland, was one of the organizers for this year’s fair. This is her second year as an international residential student at Thornton Academy. For her, the International Fair brings the community together to celebrate the students’ varied heritage.
“It’s the one day of the year when we can show where we’re from. The rest of the year, we’re part of the American culture. Through the International Fair we can share our traditions, culture, and cuisine,” Kaczorowska said.
In addition to the country booths, the fair included student performances and a fashion show. Senior Minh Nguyen from Vietnam was the DJ for the event and kept the energy high.
The fair was a way for all Thornton Academy students, both residential and local, to come together to celebrate the diverse cultures that make up the school community.
Junior Molly Scott has lived in Saco her entire life. She volunteered at the International Fair this year and has made many friends from other countries that are international students throughout her three years at TA.
“The International Fair is so cool because there are so many countries involved, and they're all so vastly different. Maine culture is very much so based around familiarity and community, so branching out and learning about different cultures and countries is a lively and new experience,” Scott said.
Countries in this year’s fair were represented by both Thornton Academy residential students as well as local students with international heritage. The countries were: Austria, China, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Rwanda, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
Thornton Academy introduced the international boarding program in 2007 and has enrolled students from over 35 countries. International students have the option to live in dormitories on campus or in homestay placements with local families.