Old Fort seniors, overseas students exchange Wales tales

The senior class at Old Fort High School shared American and Welsh customs with a group of students from Wales, United Kingdom, through video conference Tuesday.

The students in Kelly Heckathorn’s British literature class worked on research speech group projects they presented on American and Ohio culture.

“The students were able to have a live presentation and experience a back-and-forth (conversation) between them and the other students, which is invaluable,” Heckathorn said.

Students presented topics such as the American Civil War, American language and slang, baseball and basketball, movie history, the Wild West, Ohio Amish country, American authors, traditional foods, Cedar Point, American holidays, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame and national and Ohio symbols.

The students also dressed in themed attire.

The Wales group presented in the same fashion, revealing customs and school experiences from that country.

“We live in such a global economy. It is wonderful to interact and connect with other cultures. It feels as though they are right here with us,” Heckathorn said.

The video conference equipment was brought to Old Fort from the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center.

After the presentations, the students participated in a series of questions and answers where students asked questions such as:

What’s “in” with fashion for kids your age?

Do you drink tea?

What are popular snacks?

Do we have weird accents?

What American bands do you like?

The conference lasted first and second periods and was the second time the groups met.

“A highlight of the Welsh-American video conference (Tuesday) was the cross-cultural bond the students formed,” Heckathorn said. “While speaking to the group overseas, students learned not only the differences between the two cultures, but also the similarities.”

“It was an invigorating learning experience for our students to author the American and Ohio research reports. The brainstorming was the most rewarding part of the writing process. It allowed students to come together and share ideas about their most treasured American and Ohio traditions,” Heckathorn said.