Cultural Celebrations: Diversity Week and Black History Month
The month of February offered a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the diversity that makes Canada great. HNMCS kicked off Diversity week (February 4 to 8) with celebrations in honour of Chinese New Year.
On Monday, the International Students decorated the cafeteria with Year of the Pig decorations and shared essays they had written about their hometowns. During a TAP session, Middle School and Senior School students watched a video about the story behind Chinese New Year. This was followed by a lesson in Mandarin writing. The girls learned how to write Happy New Year in Chinese characters. This same day, Senior students participated in a cultural food potluck, where they shared different dishes that represented their cultural heritage.
On Tuesday, February 5th, the start of Chinese New Year, many international students came to school in traditional clothing and Nancy, Ella and Lily handed out red packets to all staff and students. Throughout the week and during morning announcements, students highlighted their various cultures from China and Korea to Mexico and Venezuela. We also had dress down days to honour the different international population (Tuesday: red for Chinese New Year; Wednesday: red and white for Korean New Year; Thursday: Blue/Green/Yellow/White for Latin America).
On Thursday, February 7, the Middle School Culture Celebration started out in the gym and continued into the cafeteria. Many Senior School International students had the chance to showcase their cultural musical and dance talents. Grace, Julia and Lily played the Guzheng (Chinese string instrument), the piano and the pipa respectively. Runa and Ellen performed a dance, and Destiny, Ella, Tory, Ruby, Cici, and Sally all helped prepare and lead the Middle School activities, which included origami, a cherry blossom painting, a Year of the Pig coloring activity, a Chinese Zodiac activity, and a Chinese cutting activity.
We ended the week with an extended Chapel period to host Britta B, a slam poet from Toronto who spoke about Black history month and the rights of all people. She shared poems including “Blackness”, “Fluke” and “Dear Young Woman”, which inspired students to remember to see their potential to help others and see the light within themselves. Her resounding message was that it is ok to have pride and shine in many ways.
Britta B’s performance was followed by a dance lesson from Carnival Spice, who taught the entire school a soul infused dance. The whole school also enjoyed a SOCA dance session, where students learned new dance moves while learning more about the appreciation of diverse cultures.
Also, in honour of Black History Month, morning announcements throughout February highlighted influential people of colour and their impact on the world. Special thanks to Geneva Hines and the Culture Club for their thoughtful planning.