Students celebrate diversity at Manual’s first Multicultural Fair


Students gather at the China table to ask questions about current events in the country today. Photo by Piper Hansen.

Piper Hansen

With the help of Ms. Nicole Finley (English) and Assistant Principal Ms. Paula Boggs, students from Manual’s Intersectionality Board and other student activist groups hosted the first school-wide Multicultural Fair.

“Manual is one of the most diverse schools in JCPS in my opinion,” Finley said. “This is an intentional way to show off that diversity.”

Trifold boards filled the Large Gym next to a designated performance stage during third and fourth blocks. Most of the boards highlighted the culture of specific countries that Manual students are from but others explained United Nations proposals, some presented global issues like agricultural sustainability and climate change while others addressed common misconceptions about religious countries.

Students who visited the Fair walked around the poster boards first, trying to get at least five special stamps on their paper passports.

“One of the cool booths I saw was a trifold about the differences in energy management and waste in different countries,” Maddie Goldstein (12, HSU) said.

While becoming a “culturally competent citizen and knowing about the different issues going on in the world” is important, Goldstein said, some other students were glad they could learn more about foreign cultures that their peers are surrounded by at home.

“I really liked the Vietnam booth,” John Binguman (11, YPAS) said. “You can tell that people have really done their work and are presenting in a way that allows people to view the culture in a neutral way.”

Performances on the second half of the gym bounced back and forth from poems to songs to dances.

The Latin American and Hispanic Society Organization’s Sara Busaleh (12, HSU) choreographed a traditional dance as part of the Hispanic culture performance block.

“Our dance has color, rhythm and a lot of spirit and spirituality that comes with it that represents the Hispanic community as a whole,” dancer Roxana Castillo (12, VA) said.

With this year’s impressive turn out, Finley is hoping that the tradition will stick.

“Next year I feel like we will be in the big gym, little gym and maybe on the sidewalks,” Finley said, thanking the students who put in hours of work to make sure the event ran smoothly.

Beyond enjoying themselves throughout the event, getting to eat new foods, students are in agreement about the educational benefits of the event.

“Manual has such a diverse student body so it’s important for that to be represented in everything we do,” Ansley Minor (12, YPAS) said. “It’s especially important to have things like this to recognize that and not take it for granted.”

“I hope this [fair] means that we, as a student body, are more educated — we are listeners before we are speakers,” Binguman said. “I am so happy that we had this.”