We are Multicultural Club
Multicultural Club strives to advocate our belief that people should not just be tolerant but be accepting of other cultures. The only way to achieve this is to learn about the variety of cultures inhabiting this planet. Coming from a school that represents over 60 different countries within 500 students, it is vital that students understand the necessity of overcoming these racial and ethnic barriers in order to be successful in life. I yearn to educate my students of the diverse cultures which are represented within our school. We use an assortment of methods when enlightening the community like, holding a Multicultural Dance in which dances are performed from countries all over the world, watching foreign films, attending festivals, informing the school of the world-wide holidays by decorating hallways around the school, and of course, by trying numerous cultural foods every week.
During my first year teaching Spanish at The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria in 2009, I was surprised by the diversity within this small school. With ambitious students with far too much free time, we decided to form the first Multicultural Club (MCC) at this school. Starting with almost no supplies and a nonexistent budget, we organized the first annual Eco-Friendly Fashion Show.
The Eco-Friendly Fashion Show started as a fun project for my Spanish class. I did not expect for my students, and students from the other grades as well, to express such a great interest. To make the fashion show as real as possible MCC took it upon themselves to create a set and runway designed entirely from recyclable materials. Ever since, the MCC has grown more and more popular, attracting members from different grades and most importantly, different countries. With more members, the themes of our fashion shows have gotten the freedom to be more imaginative and innovative. From a papier-mâchéd dragonhead to giant cupcakes and gorgeous dresses created from newspapers and garbage bags, the fashion show has only become bigger and better with each passing year.
Aside from the Fashion Show, the school also has an event entitled Multicultural Day where students and parents come together for a block party. Our club decided to incorporate a multicultural dance show. Popular dance styles in our school include Bollywood, Salsa, Cumbia, Montenegran, Hip-Hop, Belly Dance, Chutney, Merengue, Bachata, Tradition Mexican Folk, Flamenco, and Cha-Cha. In 2011, with the high number of students participating in these dances, we decided to create a sister-club to MCC, called Dance My Culture (DMC).
DMC deals exclusively with the dancers and perfecting their routine for Multicultural Day. For the most recent Multicultural Day, the club has reached out to the Bushwick School of Social Justice’s Dance Club to join us on this very special day. Now, the club has expanded its network to include different high schools.
I am always shocked to see how fast the club has grown. These students remind me everyday that as long as you have a support team working towards a common goal, there is no feat too big to be accomplished.