One School, Many Cultures – Harvest Ridge Culture Night

Posted on 03/07/2018
One School, Many Cultures – Harvest Ridge Culture Night

Harvest Ridge Elementary hosted their first “Culture Night” since first since 2010. Families were invited to share displays of their different cultures with the entire school body. With more than 250 people in attendance, the event was successful in spreading the message: One School, Many Cultures.

“It’s important for our students to have experiences away from their own customs and traditions, to gain a better understanding of the world around them,” said Harvest Ridge principal, Dr. Natalie DeWeese. “Having our families provide all the artifacts and food was a meaningful way for students to get a hands-on experience.”

With over 15 distinct cultures represented, families were able to see what makes the student body at Harvest Ridge so diverse and special. Our goal was to have families celebrate and learn about the cultures that are represented at Harvest Ridge,” said ESOL teacher Kelly Harris.

Attendees were greeted at the entrance by a parent playing the Scottish bagpipes, an audio preview of the cultural diversity to follow. Families were able to visit the different stations in the building, each one representing a different culture that is present within Harvest Ridge’s walls. Attendees were invited to make African necklaces, or color Mexican and Chinese designs. At a language learning station, families could learn how to say common phrases in ten different languages. A teacher provided lessons for a Filipino dance called Tinikling. Francis Howell North’s French Club also hosted a table. Students could try their hand at folding origami paper, or decorated their hands by receiving a henna tattoo.

In the cafeteria, families brought in food to sample. Dishes from Mexico, Nepal, India, Palestine, Norway, Trinidad, Japan, and Lithuania were available for tasting and Rosciglione Italian Bakery donated cookies.

The evening concluded with a variety of performances - Chinese tai chi, a ramp walk that featured Indian traditional dress, a garba dance from India, and the Sira Ma Sirabandi traditional dance from Nepal.

“My most memorable moment of the evening was the excitement and enthusiasm the families had when sharing their culture,” said ESOL teacher Kristy Giacomarra. “They were so excited to have everyone visit their table and try their food, as well as learn about their culture.”

“My hope is that students not only learned something new about another part of the world, but that they now have a deeper appreciation for the diversity within our school community,” said Dr. DeWeese. With so many displays, stations, performances, and dishes to sample, it is easy to see that while Harvest Ridge is only one school, it is made up of many of cultures that creates something truly unique.

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