AUSTINBURG — With the coming of spring, new traditions have bloomed on the campus at Grand River Academy. While baseball and tennis go way back in GRA history, students are learning a new sport that they hope starts a new tradition.

The sport of lacrosse has made its debut on campus thanks to a generous donation from an academy parent. With a heritage that dates back to early Native American tribes, lacrosse is a true North American sport. The game is played using a stick with a webbed mesh on the end which is used to catch and throw a hard rubber ball into a goal. Lacrosse contains elements of passing like basketball and soccer, and physical hitting that is similar to football. Helmets and protective gear are worn for actual matches.

GRA athletic director Scott McNevan, who was introduced to the sport in his native Canada, is teaching the skills of the game through his physical education classes. Many of the academy students have had some exposure to lacrosse in their hometowns of Columbus and Pittsburgh or while living in lacrosse hotbeds like Maryland or New York.

“We are looking at adding lacrosse as a club sport at first. Ultimately we would like to have a full schedule of matches in the spring season,” said Mr. McNevan.

International Week was recently celebrated. Angela Thomas is the coordinating teacher for the International Program at GRA.

“The students who come to our school to study English and learn our culture also bring aspects of their culture to the campus,” said Mrs. Thomas. “It was exciting to see the international students get the acclaim from their classmates for the food and facts they shared. It was a real hit with the American students and all the staff at GRA.”

International Week combined educational elements as well as samplings of dishes from around the world. Foods from Korea included Bulgogi, a pork dish; Kimchi, a spicy cabbage; and Pa Jun, a scallion pancake. Members of the Korean Church in Austinburg helped with the preparation of the Korean meals.

“I really enjoyed the Korean food the best,” said Evan Gahan, a senior from Illinois. “It tasted as good as the Korean restaurant in Cleveland.”

A Saudi Arabian doughnut, called a louqaimaut, was a highlight for that country when combined with a strong Arabian coffee. Vietnamese cuisine was represented by Chicken Curry. A Sierra Leone chicken dish had many returning for seconds. Chinese students prepared Nian Gao cake and Taiwan fried rice was another hit.

“My favorite part of the week was making my country’s food as well as being able to eat it. I was happy to share my food and my culture with the friends I have made here at GRA,” said Dino Shen, a senior from Taiwan.

These new aspects of the GRA community have shown that, even though we are an older school with lots of traditions, we can still benefit from new activities and options that are part of the world around us.

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