Mackinac Students Visit Countries Around the World 9/28/16

Island friend Orietta Barquero texted me last night to let me know today was International Day at the Mackinac Island Public School.  The event was held in the school gym and over a dozen countries were represented.

It’s a fact that many of us forget – and something school children here seldom think about – but Mackinac Island, as a resort community, is filled with workers who travel thousands of miles to spend their summers working on the island.  They come from as far away as Russia and Asia, leaving families behind, to work for the season in hotels and restaurants, fudge and gift shops, or as drivers for Carriage Tours.  Grand Hotel is the island’s largest employer of international workers, and most of those who participated in International Day were Grand Hotel employees.  My friend Orietta (from Costa Rica) and her husband Steve are year-round island residents.

Kindergarten-6th graders were given passports to each country and workbooks with questions to ask and facts to find.


Some of the countries represented were – the Philippines . . .













India and . . .


. . . Costa Rica.  Orietta is sharing galleta, a sweet treat from her native country.  It tasted a little like cookie dough and was yummy!

This was the 3rd annual International Day at the school, and each year it continues to grow.  Mackinac Public School has 79 students this year Pre-School through 12th grades.  There are four in the 2017 Senior Class.

Thanks, Orietta, for alerting me to this great event!


16 thoughts on “Mackinac Students Visit Countries Around the World 9/28/16

  1. This is such a wonderful opportunity to be shared at school. I always love asking where the workers are from when we meet them on our visit to the Island and love to hear some of their stories. Thanks Brenda so much for sharing this story.

    • I loved doing this story, Joleen. Felt like I was back at my job as Public Information Director of the Dougherty County School System in Albany, Ga.

  2. As a second grade teacher for 35 years, I have always been fascinated with the Island school children. I loved sitting in front of the Chippewa watching them ride their bikes home from school. One year we were doing the “drive your own carriage” and all the school kids came racing by us on their bikes!! Apparently the horse was used to all the commotion, as it just kept on it’s slow, steady pace!! I’ve always wondered about winter and getting to school!? Thanks for the info on the school. Karen

    • Karen, they mostly walk or bike to school until the snow starts. Any student 12 and older can drive a snow machine to school after passing a preparedness test. I believe younger siblings can ride with them.

    • Winter is like any other season for these kids. There are really brave!
      The older kids (11 or more) can drive their snowmobile otherwise the parents have to do it.
      Many times there is not enough snow for that so they just walk. And of course, they dont miss class for snowy days here! I am telling you, these kids are brave!

  3. I never knew that they were from such far away places….here I’m thinking most of them were from Jamaica or surrounding area…never thought about such places as the Philippines or Russia! Wow! Thanks for enlightening me Brenda..this was very informative.

  4. Love to hear stories about the school activities. Several years ago we bought a small booklet that was done by the students. It asked and answered the questions people often ask about school and living on the island. We all learned a lot from that book! I don’t know if the stores still sell it. Great story Bree!

  5. So, we go to the island and wonder how they live, and they do the same to the people who go there to work! Love that the conversation is encouraged. We all need more of that! Thanks for sharing this slice of Mackinac Island life. See you soon!

  6. Our carriage driver was from Romania. Such a great opportunity for the kids. For example all I know about Romania is brutal communist dictator and gymnast – oh and Dracula. Pretty sure there’s more to know!

  7. We were able to visit for a very short time with the young man who served us at Mr. B’s. He was from Nigeria and a very nice person. I was hoping to see that he was at the school. I asked him how he found out about a job on Mackinac Island and he told us that it had been posted at the university that he attended. He said he hopes to be able to return next summer. By the way, Mr. Be’s has excellent cheeseburgers and French fries.

  8. How fun for the kids! It reminds me of the “Kid-cot” stations at Epcot in Orlando.
    For those of you lucky enough to be on the Island, how are the tree colors progressing?

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