2014 Diversity Day Defines DMAE

Diversity Day, one of the school days all DMAE students look forward to the most, once again left the student body and faculty astonished and appreciative on May 16, 2014. While most students value the experiences that Diversity Day and the World Cultures Festival have to offer, whether it be the food or the entertainment, others work tirelessly to ensure maximum satisfaction of teachers and peers and see a great value in what they are doing for their community.

According to Judy Aronson, the event’s director, the day gives students a special opportunity to express their true selves in the most welcoming and comfortable environment for such exhibition.

“I feel that students in varying degrees can share their identities and who they are at home with kids in school and that Diversity Day gives them an opportunity to do it on a day when everybody is opening up,” said Ms. Aronson earnestly. “They could be honest and real, opening themselves up to other people’s cultures and to the idea that sharing their own isn’t scary or weird. It’s just a lot of fun. It helps us get to know each other,” she added.

Among the performances on the Dizzy Gillespie Auditorium stage in this year’s Diversity Day were seven dances, each linked to a unique culture or set of cultures. Students performed Indian dance, Filipino Tinikling, Korean and Chinese Pop and varied Latin dances.  When students watched their classmates participate in these elaborate dances, they were energized by the vibe and lifestyle attached to the respective cultures. Sophomore Matthew Jon Lee, a member of the Filipino dance group, felt that it was not only a great choice to participate, but a truly worthy experience.

“I took part in the traditional Filipino dance, and despite being Chinese, I got to understand and value the Filipino culture while practicing the dance. I think that my peers watching really were impressed by the dances because of their complexity as well as their uniqueness,” said Matthew in a genuine tone. “The most valuable experience, I believe, that Diversity Day holds is that while America often holds this image as a melting pot, Diversity Day allows us to celebrate the cultures and heritages from which we originated,” he added.

Roman Bellanger, another sophomore who was involved in the Filipino dance, agreed that the experience was special.

“Getting to know these different cultures was a valuable lesson, even if it was just for a day,” Roman said.

Along with the dancers there were musical performances, videos and instrumental performances all moved along by senior emcees Emmanuel Daughtry and Erica Patterson. Approximately 200 students took part in the show. The most popular performance of Diversity Day, however, was the Michael Jackson impression of “Billie Jean” by freshman Cosmo Hawkins. The crowd responded with a roar of applause, shouts and screams.

After school, students filled up on ethnic meals at the World Culture Festival. Meals were prepared by students and their families, generous teachers who volunteered to make dishes, and from restaurants that donated food. Volunteers set up more than 20 stations all around the gymnasium for which one or two tables were covered with various dishes from that cuisine.

Science teacher Jacqueline Goolsarran operated the Guyanese table of the World Culture Festival again this year. She sees a noble value in the work she does for the event.

“There’s nothing above food that defines a culture, it’s a necessity for all mankind and therefore it’s the one commonality we have with each other,” Ms. Goolsarran said.

In addition, the World Cultures celebration included activities such as a Selfie Screen, Sumo Wrestlers, Twister in three different languages and a trivia contest.

The 2014 Diversity Day and World Culture Festival reminded students to take a moment solely to celebrate the differences that distinguish every single one of them.