Community Culture Day

Arepas, Baguettes, Cannoli & More

Where is it possible to try Chinese dumplings, Jamaican meat patty sandwiches, Israeli falafel, Vietnamese coffee, even the Indian game called carrom, while listening to Italian opera?

Community Culture Day at John Jay High School! The affirming celebration was created by the BEAT—which stands for belonging, equity and advocacy task force—and included a cafeteria full of food tastings, workshops, music and fun. Even the class-change bells were love songs in different languages.

“Our goal is to provide opportunities for members of the school community to share their identity and cultures in the hopes of increasing awareness and celebrating diversity,” said Assistant Principal Mallory McDonald, BEAT’s advisor.

hexagon symbolizes connectedness

Other workshops included learning about the Indian roots of yoga and doing the sun salutation with parent Shivani Patel, and making cannoli with junior Melissa Falco and Assistant Principal Kim Piccolino while learning about the nuns who developed the Sicilian treat.

In the art studio, students were creating hexagon-shaped art—one highlighted women’s voices, graphic novel style; another was painted to represent the earth and its waters; while others featured origami roses and endangered species.

“A hexagon is the symbol of connectedness,” art teacher Kristen Lowe said to the students. “The pieces are all unique, but they fit together perfectly.”