After a multiyear absence, the beloved Multicultural Fair returned to Somerville High School - the first one in the new building - on Friday, May 26, and the atmosphere was joyous. Months of careful planning, countless meetings, and hours and hours of cooking and preparation went into the fair, which was held in the upper and lower cafeterias as well as on the concourse at the front of the school. As interim co-principal Alicia Kersten said, “It was a celebratory event that really showcased our students’ pride and talents.”
More than one hundred students from all grade levels shared food, music, traditional clothing, history, and dances of their countries and cultures of origin with hundreds of their peers, staff, and educators. More than 25 countries were represented during this year’s fair, including Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Morocco, Nepal, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Venezuela. Kelly Albrecht, a school counselor in Highland Community and a member of the coordinating committee explained, it “was a wonderful reminder of how diverse we are as a school. It fostered a sense of community among students in different grade levels. The committee members envisioned this as a major celebration of cultures and unity.”
There was Indian henna painting, yarmulkes distributed by Jewish students, and the chance for students to learn more about each other outside of a formal classroom setting. Just a small sampling of the student-prepared foods include Nepali momo, mango lassi from India, arroz con leche from El Salvador, Guatemalan tostadas and rellenitos de plátano, Armenian dolma and stuffed peppers, Moroccan couscous, Portuguese queijadas, Belgian waffles, and Ghanaian jollof rice.
Co-Principal Kersten summed it up, “I’d like to give a special shout out to the Multicultural Fair committee: Kelly Albrecht, Joel Villegas, Sue Bullock, Irma Calderon, Bert Stoker, Rob Day, Vanessa Cosco, Nayi Padilla, helpers Nehemie St. Louis, Mary Beth Murray, Holly Maloney…all the staff, CES, deans, and assistant principals for making sure the event was safe and orderly, department heads…. It was a true team effort! Can’t wait for next year!”
---Abby Luthin, Grants and Communications Specialist