Cultural gatherings help students express their heritage

With our school being international, students come from 71 countries, speak 62 languages, and have up to four passports. This means a diverse assortment of cultures is prominent in the community, and feeling comfortable and proud of traditions is something all middle school members should learn to experience with those in and outside their communities. Events hosted by the school community used to celebrate different cultures help students express their identities and should be more hosted often to help them connect to their heritage.

Seventh-graders Bryan Kim Short and Andrea Agostinelli dress up to take photos for Lunar New Year on January 20. The photo booth was a hit amongst students in all grade levels. Students gathered in the Community Arts building and Waverley Playground to participate in games and activities for the celebration (Photo by Emily Iannazzo).

For several cultural holidays, communities host events in and out of the middle school to allow students to partake in festivities. These are often memorable moments for students and are talked about even years after being hosted. This year, Lunar New Year was celebrated on January 20 at the Waverley Playground, where middle school students gathered to participate in games, eat sweet treats, and listen to music. Individuals in and outside communities were given a chance to learn about Chinese traditions and get an insight into their unique customs.

In addition to hosting cultural gatherings during the school day, nights are hosted in the Commons several times a year, where students, parents, and faculty members can celebrate cultures in the community. The South Asia Committee in the high school aims to host at least one annual gathering for all community members called South Asian Night.

There, students, both in and outside of the South Asian community from all numerous grade levels to join together for festivities such as dancing, eating, and spice competitions to make connections to South Asian traditions.

Eighth-grader Kyrah Badhwar said, “Gatherings with the South Asian community in ASL have taught me not to be ashamed of who I am because I could finally connect with the people that share something similar to me. Not growing up in India means that connecting and learning stories about people who have is all the more special to making relations to who I am.”

While what is currently on offer for community gatherings has joined students together and positively affected those who choose to participate, more events being hosted would benefit students all the more. Until now, all cultural gatherings have proven to have positive effects, whether during the school day, classroom, or off campus.

Students should take advantage of the diverse opportunities the middle school offers as they can create lifelong experiences that change perspectives for years to come. A change can only be produced if a call for action is made. If a student sees fault with any community gatherings, all teachers will likely have open-minded approaches that are friendly to new ideas or changes.

Our school is one of the most diverse communities in London, and middle school students join annually from across the globe. Cultural gatherings are vital in helping students feel proud of their cultures and should be hosted often to continue the experience.

Editor’s note: The photo included in this article was named as the Feature Photo of the Year by the NSPA at an awards ceremony in Boston, Massachusetts on November 4, 2023

About Meher Sareen ('27)

Scroll Opinions editor 2022-23

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