Mark Twain Elementary celebrates cultures, community in first-ever multicultural night

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Mark Twain Elementary families from countries across the globe shared their culture with food, songs and traditions at the school’s first-ever Multicultural Night.

More than 400 students and family members attended Thursday’s event which featured displays from a host of countries: Kazakhstan, Eritrea, Somalia, Ghana, Greece, Syria, Guatemala, Mexico and Nepal.

“We wanted to showcase all the different families from all around the world and let them feel welcome,” said English Learners teacher Chelsie Lakeman, who helped lead the event with school psychologist Dr. Natasha Stoll-Juredine, school counselor Serena Casale and instructional coach Amber Case

During the event, tables lined the school gym and hallway with displays that families and staff created to showcase facts about their native country, food and traditional dress. The Kazakhstan display included examples of school work from elementary students while Ghana’s table played videos of traditional dances. Visitors to Eritrea’s table hosted by Mark Twain’s health aide Feven Woldeab could sample a variety of breads and dishes as well as freshly-made coffee. Meanwhile, those who stopped by the table dedicated to Mexico could sample a variety of snacks. There were also stations where students could create homemade rainmakers, play with instruments from different countries and color mandalas.

Students explored through the space with passports, earning stamps as they visited each table with parents.     

The school’s equity team proposed the event, which they plan to continue hosting in the future following Thursday’s turnout.

“It’s amazing,” said Kemily Palmer, who serves as the parent representative on the school’s equity team. “It shows they are willing to support, enjoy and learn about each other and accept each other.

Several schools in the district have hosted multicultural nights prior to the pandemic and plan to organize similar events this spring.