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‘It feels nice to be represented’

Haddonfield Memorial High School holds first Multicultural Day

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, students of all affinity clubs from the entire school came together to host Haddonfield Memorial High School’s (HMHS) first Multicultural Day.

The idea came from students around a year ago when they came to HMHS principal Tammy McHale to ask if they could put on a multicultural day.

“I think the main purpose, why we really need to have this, is to continue to bring and build a strong school community and to do that we need to learn about other people who might be different than us,” said Charlotte Berman, founder of the Jewish American Cultural Club and one of the students who suggested to hold the event. “In Haddonfield, we don’t have that kind of diversity, so to be able to do something like this where people can share something unique about them with others, it’s doing its part to bringing more community into our school and reducing ignorance.”

Students took the lead on the project and each affinity group worked with their members to put on a wide range of events. These included cultural performances, dancing and singing, educational activities to learn more about different cultures and different games and athletic events, including a gaga pit game led by the Jewish American Cultural Club and a “World Cup” soccer tournament led by the German Club held outdoors that was a huge hit.

Represented clubs included Spanish Club, German, French, Asian American Cultural Club, Jewish American Culture Club, GSA (Gay Straight Alliance), students from Ukraine, India, Zimbabwe and Ghana.

“(My favorite part of this experience was) to see the students’ passion behind it, to see the impact that sharing their culture with the rest of the student body could do for them and what that could do for all of us that are learning about it,” said Rachel Gould, a teacher who worked with the students.

In the cafeteria, the affinity clubs also had food stations where students could make their own challah, walking tacos, crepes and more. Students from different backgrounds that did not have a club of their own were also given the ability to represent themselves, and some did.

Arlene Young is a senior who had a table displaying traditional clothes from Ghana to share her culture with others, and Saya Sood, a freshman, also had a table to share more about India with other students.

“My favorite part about today was seeing people actually be interested in my culture,” Young shared. “At first when it started, I thought ‘nobody’s going to come to my table,’ but now people are coming and they’re asking questions. I wasn’t expecting people to actually ask, like ‘when do you usually wear this?'”

She explained that she makes her own jewelry, and she loved being able to share more about where she is from.

“It feels nice to be represented because there’s not a lot of us, especially in this community,” Young said.

Seniors Grace Charatz and Jack Novak reflected on the work that went on behind the scenes within the Spanish Club to prepare for the day’s events.

“It was really rewarding for us to see the smiles on everyone’s faces because we really didn’t know how this was going to turn out,” Charatz said.

The Spanish Club held a Zumba class upstairs, a card game, a guitar performance by a teacher and a craft called “Ojos de Dios” and for food, they also had different cultural foods like churros, walking tacos, sodas and pina coladas, horchata.

Other clubs had a similar level of involvement; German Club had a Berlin Wall activity to help educate others on the history, where students could build the wall and watch it break at the end of the time and student musicians were giving live performances of popular German songs in the cafeteria area.

“We got to really dream big and we ramped things up with the meetings and it’s been great,” Novak said.

Brady Norton, a senior in the German Club, concurred.

“Having a day like this, we were able to see what happens in the Spanish Club, in the French Club, in the Jewish Club and stuff like that … I didn’t really know what went on in the other clubs so it brought a little more inclusivity as to what we do as a club,” said Norton.

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