France may seem far away from Fresno, but on Thursday morning, the country and its culture was at the fingertips of Valley Oak Elementary School students.
Stacey Firpo said, "To learn about different cultures, learn about different people around the world and understand that although we may be different that there's a lot of things that are the same and we can appreciate how they live their lives."
Stacey Firpo is the advisor of the Spectrum Club, which stands for Students and Principal Embracing Cultures Together, Reaching for Understanding and Meaning.
It began six years ago with just 15 kids and now has more than 100 in grades second through sixth. The club meets twice a month before school to learn about what makes cultures around the world unique. And different, but also where we share similarities like a love for sports.
Student Katie White said, "I really like learning about all the different cultures it's a bunch of stuff I've never known before and it's really cool to learn about it."
Students also get a chance to learn the language, and practice with each other. And they even get a chance to eat food from the country. Instructors say it's neat to see these young students minds open up to the world around them.
Student Quaid Copher said, "Ms. Firpo will teach us all about these really cool places and you're like man, I want to go there."
Inspiring this future world traveler, and many others in more ways than one.
"We have a lot of students who now have a better appreciation of others, how they feel," said Firpo. "Embracing differences."
Diverse lessons instructors hope these students will take with them, in schooling and life.
The students plan to visit Spain, Russia, and South Africa in the coming months, all from Valley Oak.