Region 8 Students Try Out Russian Culture

NOVEMBER 2, 2007 - Posted at 3:21 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- The art, music and culture of Russia have been hidden from western eyes for more than 100 years.  Friday, students in Region 8 had the chance to learn more about the country with a special guest visit.

Jonesboro's International Studies Magnet School had a very colorful and unique visitor Friday from a guest from Russia, topping off a week full of special visits from folks from all over the world, including Spain and Scotland.

Playing to a packed house or gym floor rather, Sergei Shapoval had every set of eyes captured as he gave students a taste of his Russian culture.

"Their behavior is so excellent because they are so motivated to learn about other things, things you can't learn about from a traditional text book, so they love the opportunity to visit firsthand rather than just read about it," said Principal Arthur Jackson.

"I didn't know much about the dances they did or the music they played, that was very interesting," said 4th grade student Grace Tender.

"It was amazing how he played seven different spoons at once," said 6th grader Barrett Nix, "I liked the little thing that goes back and forth that could annoy teachers very easily."

"It brings a little piece of Russia into their culture right here to northeast Arkansas to our students here at international studies. They get to see and hear and experience firsthand a lot of the cultures and traditions of Russia," said Jackson.

Tradition teaches dance, music and even the alphabet.

"Teachers use that as a springboard for learning and then allow students to take that in any direction that they would like to," remarked Jackson.

"We get to learn about everything around the world, all the people and the cultures," laughed Tender.

The program was made possible by the support of the Arkansas Arts Council.