The chicken hobos were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, just like the way they make them in Nova Scotia. The jollof rice was an oh-so aromatic blend of chilies and garlic and tomatoes.

The chicken hobos were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, just like the way they make them in Nova Scotia.

The jollof rice was an oh-so aromatic blend of chilies and garlic and tomatoes. 

It’s from Africa, Kinsley Aikeins, a fourth-grader, said.

“My mother was born in Africa and her mom always used to make it,” the 9-year old said as he dished out the colorful rice – and a bit of his heritage – to guests at LaLiberte school’s Gala International Buffet.

“I love the taste of it. It’s really good,” he said.

Other students laid out platters overflowing with glazed Italian cookies and sugar-sprinkled Malassadas fried dough, and crock-pots brimming with foods that had been lovingly handed down from one generation of their family to another. Swedish meatballs. Irish corned beef and cabbage. Italian lasagna.

The annual buffet completes a fourth-grade coursework on immigration and heritage and attracts hundreds of family members, school staff and officials.

“This is a chance for them to show off what they have been doing since the beginning of the year,” LaLiberte Principal Dennis Bray said of his 197 fourth-graders.

“It gets bigger and bigger every year.”

New Bridgewater-Raynham Superintendent Jacqueline Forbes was attending her first Gala Buffet.

“There is nothing like bringing family together with food and I’m thrilled they are tying it into the curriculum,” she said as she gazed over the sea of diversity in the school gymnasium. “This is good. They learn from each other.”

The children were beaming with family pride about the foods they eat every day or on special occasions.

Gerry Belmosto will learn to love his longtime family tradition, his mother, Lynn Bosse, said.

She made several of her Irish grandmother’s shepherd’s pies. Bosse's grandmother made it for Bosse's mother, and Bosse's mother made it for her.

“I decided to make it today as a tribute to my mother’s heritage,” she said.

Raynham Call reporter Susan Parkou Weinstein can be reached at sweinste@cnc.com