International Flags Welcome Students and Families at East Ridge Elementary
Posted on 08/17/2023
International Flags Welcome Students and Families at East Ridge ElementaryChattanooga, Tenn. - East Ridge Elementary School (ERES), one of the most diverse schools in Hamilton County, welcomes students and families with a display of international flags in the school lobby. The flags represent the countries of origin of many of the students at ERES, including Guatemala, Mexico, Yemen, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Sudan, Gambia, and Venezuela.

To welcome students and families from all over the world, East Ridge Elementary School's Our Leader In Me Environmental Action Team introduced this inspiring collection of international flags to the lobby in 2019.

Since the flags were put up, students and families have been intrigued by them. Many students have asked about the origin of the flags, and teachers are encouraged to bring their students to view the flags and discuss the countries they represent, turning this display into a powerful educational tool.

Jennifer Defur, the English as a New Language (ENL) Specialist at ERES, said she is "so proud" that the school values the importance of recognizing its families from other countries. "We want families to feel most welcomed when they walk into the doors and to feel a sense of familiarity to see their native flag displayed in their school," she said.

When a new student comes to ERES from a new country, the school tries to get their flag ordered and displayed as quickly as possible. Defur said, "We want students to feel like they belong here, and displaying their flag is a great way to do that."

The display of these international flags serves as a heartwarming tribute to the rich diversity that East Ridge Elementary School embodies. By creating an inclusive environment, the school offers students and families from around the world a space where they can establish a connection and feel a greater sense of community in the school.