Sgt. Robert Olp took a knee beside his third-grade son, Richard, at a laptop station in the Ogden library.
They worked their way through various country presentations Thursday as a part of Ogden Elementary School’s multicultural-themed family night.
Olp attended family night along with his wife, Sarah, Richard’s twin, Robert, and his pre-kindergarten daughter, Rosemaree.
“It really gets the kids information about multiculturalism,” the Fort Riley soldier said. “It gets them more in touch with what’s out there.”
As they went along through the country presentations, the Olps received stickers to fill up their “passports” — which eventually would be their ticket to the evening’s food.
Olp has an intensive travel history of his own with the Army. He has been deployed twice to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq.
“It’s a humbling experience to know how little they have, yet how happy they can be,” Olp said. “It’s a different way of life.”
Ogden’s family night included dresses from various African countries, from Oman and India, and food from places such as Russia, Laos, Nigeria, Korea and Italian.
Ogden principal Jim Armendariz said parent nights with themes are a great way to get attendance.
He said serving a mobile, low socioeconomic population can make it harder to ensure parents are coming to the school.
“It’s hard to get parents out for a night without creativity,” Armendariz said.
The school’s fifth and sixth graders did the country presentations in the library.
Sixth graders Kayla Beyer and Rachael Adams did a presentation on Germany. They had many trinkets borrowed from friends and teachers, including a 22-year-old porcelain doll.
Beyer said Germany’s culture is very structured.
“They are planners and are rarely late for things,” she said. “I kind of like to be like that.”
Beyer and Adams both liked the elementary school structure: classes from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Ogden school day lasts from 8:25 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.
They reasoned that the elementary school structure had other differences.
Still, it’s hard not to be jealous over that schedule.
“It’s just around, like, five hours of school,” Adams said. “I wish we had that.”