Trinity students learn lessons through food

Published 10:41 am Wednesday, February 13, 2008

NATCHEZ — Thirteen Trinity Episcopal students are traveling the globe this semester and taking their chop sticks with them.

The juniors and seniors are part of the school’s first minority studies class, and right now they are in Asia.

They haven’t left their U.S. 61 South school building, mind you, but that’s just a technicality.

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Monday’s lesson was on Asian American cuisine, and the class — mostly boys only by chance — hit the kitchen.

The menu included gingered pork, sesame rice and bok choy — a Chinese cabbage.

Bal Jinder Sing, a junior, said the meal was one he enjoyed. But he had his favorite dish too.

“The rice, I cooked it,” he said.

The class divides into groups and each group is responsible for a dish on cooking day, teacher Linda Rodriguez said. Each time a new culture is introduced, they have a cooking day in the school’s cafeteria.

The class — Rodriguez’s idea — has been a hit so far, she said.

“It was set up to be less about the facts on minorities in the U.S. and much more about the voices of minority groups,” she said.

The curriculum includes reading the writings of Richard Wright and Barack Obama, among others, and watching culture-related movies.

So far, the students have covered African-American and Asian-American cultures. Up next are Native American, Indian American, Jewish American and Latino.

The class, an elective, is quite diversified itself, Rodriguez said.

Sing is of Indian descent, and the class includes black and Asian students.

“Some of these kids will never take a class like this anywhere else,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve had such interesting discussions about what history is like for the different races.”

Larry Calcote, a junior, said he took the class because he thought it was unique.

“This school is not a very diversified school, so I thought it would be cool to learn about other people,” Calcote said.

Though Trinity does have representation from many cultures, the majority of the students are white.

Rodriguez, who has been teaching Latin at Trinity in years prior, said she hopes to continue the minority studies class next year.