West hosts multi-cultural day; features students, community

What do Korean calligraphy, face painting, guacamole demonstrations, and cultural booths all have in common?

They were all a part of this year’s first ever Multicultural Fair. The fair ran on March sixteenth and featured activities both during the school day, and during the evening.

It was a day for students to explore the diversity and different cultures that existed within their peers.  “We didn’t want anything soft and kindergarten-ish, but something serious,” said Spanish teacher Margaret Patrias.

The serious undertones could be found within the day’s homeroom lessons. Students watched skits that illustrated diversity and stereotypes and then explored those themes with carefully chosen discussion questions. The questions were designed to probe the heart of the diversity issue, beyond just seeing it on a projection screen.

Students also learned that a significant part of diversity came from understanding themselves and their classmates. They participated in an activity called Cross the Line in which a statement would be read and those who fit the qualifications would step forward and cross a line that had been drawn on the floor. Questions ranged from the frivolous, such as, ‘Cross the line if you’ve seen the movie Inception’ to more serious, such as, ‘Cross the line if your family struggles to make ends meet.’

“We were looking for different avenues for work and cohesion,” said social studies teacher Adrienne Keppler. “This seemed like something all of the students could gain from and enjoy.”

Later in the evening, the school held the fair itself. Booths of countries from all over the world were set up in the learning center and were run by students who came from those countries. Senior Ahmadou Mfinanga, a native of Tanzania, did his entire presentation Swahili for those who were willing to listen. The fair also featured fairy tales created by students from the foreign language department, cooking demonstrations displaying different types of cuisine from around the world, ethnic food that was available for purchase, and an arts and crafts section which featured crafts from various countries and cultures.

Students from the foreign language department and others who merely wished to volunteer helped run the fair and create a multicultural diversity.

“For the whole thing to be a success, the students must make an effort to do so,” said Patrias.

With the help of students, teachers, and those willing to share their culture, the first Tosa West Multicultural Fair was a huge success. Now that they have got year one tucked under their belts, Patrias, Keppler and the others involved in the process can hopefully make next year even better than this one.

Reporter: Angie O’Brien

Photographers: Ty Stoltenberg, Jenn Asbach 

[smugmug url=”http://tosawestsidestories.smugmug.com/hack/feed.mg?Type=gallery&Data=16497309_5ib4M&format=rss200″ imagecount=”100″ start=”1″ num=”100″ thumbsize=”Th” link=”smugmug” captions=”false” sort=”true” window=”false” smugmug=”false” size=”M”]