Students showcase heritage at first ‘Culture Night’

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor - posted Thu., Jan. 17, 2013
Joseph Nguyen performs a traditional Chinese Dragon Dance at Windsor High School's first 'Culture Night' on Jan. 11. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Joseph Nguyen performs a traditional Chinese Dragon Dance at Windsor High School's first 'Culture Night' on Jan. 11. Photos by Colin Rajala.

America is a diverse country of nationalities, belief systems and ethnic groups, often referred to as a “melting pot.” Windsor High School celebrated that diversity on Jan. 11 as the Gay Straight Alliance and ACTION Club hosted their first "Culture Night" in the high school cafeteria.

“We hope students learn to take pride in who they are and where they come from,” said Jennifer Anderson, WHS social studies teacher and event coordinator. “We want students to respect other people’s cultures and also learn that the world is an amazing place to explore. We also want them to know that just because something or someone is different from them, doesn’t mean it is wrong or bad. Learning about other people helps students not only recognize similarities, but also respect differences and hopefully leads to a more peaceful world.”

The event, designed to celebrate all the people that make up Windsor High School, featured cultures from across the world - from El Salvador and Guyana to England, New Zealand and Vietnam.

Foreign cultures were not the only ones on display, as presenters showcased all aspects of the United States, including the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning community, as well as multi-racial backgrounds. The students presented their cultures with informational posters, as well as an interactive portion, which included food, song or dance.

The diversity was not just in the cultures represented, but students from the same cultures chose to focus on entirely different aspects of them. Students and guests were treated to a variety of dishes, including Irish soda bread, Italian wedding cookies, baklava, and Guyanese rice and beans. Student performances included teaching others the basic steps of a Cuban salsa, as well as the intricate moves involved with the flamboyant Chinese Dragon Dance. Alongside the dancing were traditional Spanish music songs, poems and instruments like the Vietnamese Dan Bau, a one-stringed guitar. One of the poems taught the fact that Jamaicans can actually have a blend of English, African and French heritage. Traditional clothing was also showcased in outfits like a Greek toga or a classic light linen Hispanic button-down shirt and fedora.

Anderson said the students not only learned about other cultures, but some of them learned more about their own. She said that experiencing the similarities of their cultures brings them together for the future.

“I think it is so important when various clubs can collaborate together,” Anderson said. “It creates bonds, helps share the work load and creates an environment where people are working together. I am very proud of the students and all their hard work.”


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