Visit the Mukilteo Beacon website
February 01, 2012
Mariner celebrates diversity with Culture Week
|Bayek Tutlam (left), Andre Haghgoo (center) and Alex Thiongo (right) feast on Hispanic food during Hispanic Day at Mariner High School. Hispanic Day was just one of five days Mariner celebrated during its first ever Culture Week.|
|Photo courtesy of Brijonnay Madrigal photo|
MUKILTEO, Washington (STPNS) -- Meeting a challenge to celebrate diversity at Mariner High School like never before, students organized the school’s first-ever Culture Week, a five-day celebration with food, music and more.
“They had to come up with something different, something new,” said Leadership adviser Nick Angelos, who came up with the challenge.
Culture Week was a five-day event that culminated on Jan. 12 – the day of Mariner’s annual Martin Luther King assembly. The celebration was organized by the students in Mariner’s Leadership class.
Each day celebrated the culture of a different ethnicity represented at Mariner. There was a Hispanic Day, Middle Eastern Day, European Day, Asian and Pacific Islander Day, and African American Day.
Angelos challenged the students to organize activities throughout the year to change the culture and environment of the school – what he calls service leadership.
“The whole point of Culture Week was that we really wanted the students to just kind of appreciate the different cultures at our school,” said co-ASB President Brijonnay Madrigal.
Each day, as a new culture was celebrated, the student body was shown presentations of the culture’s heritage. At lunch, music from the specific culture was played while students dined on food from that culture.
Food for the week was provided by the school district’s food service. About 300 lunches were prepared for the students each day.
“What we did with Culture Week was just make the students feel like they’re important,” Brijonnay said. “We made it so they were recognized, and did it in a way that the whole school felt they could interact with what we were doing.”
In planning Culture Week, Leadership divided itself into committees categorized by ethnicity. Each group was responsible for organizing its own Culture Day.
“It was really cool to have all the different diversity even in our Leadership class,” Brijonnay said.
Leadership student Madison Azim, of Middle Eastern decent, was especially happy to organize what her group named Middle Eastern Monday. She said it was an opportunity to dismiss any negative stereotypes associated with people of Middle Eastern background.
“When you search Google, really negative things come up,” Madison said about her culture.
She said her group made a strong effort to highlight the important parts of their culture such as the food, religion and music.
“It was nice to help clear up any stereotypes or any negative feelings toward any Middle Eastern students in our school,” she said.
Many students from Mariner’s Leadership class said Culture Week was a success. They said the celebrations of different cultures were well-received by the student body.
They look to organize another Culture Week next year, as they continue to recognize the importance of diversity at Mariner.
“Diversity needs to be celebrated,” Brijonnay said. “[Culture Week] was a big event, but it had a bigger purpose.
“It was really connecting with students, and that’s what service leadership is all about.”
LaVendrick Smith is an intern for the Mukilteo Beacon.
© 2013 Mukilteo Beacon
Mukilteo, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from STPNS