An unusual cultural journey is taking place at St Stephens Elementary School, which is hosting the Hmong Scholars Day Camp.
North Carolina has the country’s fourth largest Hmong population. The largest group in the state is in the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton metro area. So, the celebration hosted by St. Stephens of the language, food, and culture of the Hmong was a popular event. The week long camp offered classes in Hmong food, language, dance, arts, music, and games.
This year the camp was free, and open to any student who was interested in learning about the Hmong people in grades 3 through 12. The sponsor in part was the Hickory International Council (HIC). The HIC works with the City of Hickory and the schools system to promote goodwill and understanding of the international communities in Hickory and facilitate interconnectedness of the world.
The intent of the Hmong Scholars Camp was to introduce the culture to students, but it was also a chance for young Hmong students to learn more about their language and culture.
“I really want to learn how to say the alphabet in Hmong and learn the cooking,” said Shoua Chang a seventh grader from Conover. Her favorite dish was nava, and the students learned how to make spring rolls and egg rolls.