Benedictine Academy Celebrates Diversity

ELIZABETH–Maya Angelou once said that “in diversity, there is beauty and strength”. The richness of those qualities rang out during Benedictine Academy’s “International Day 2011”, when the diversity and vibrancy of over 20 nationalities and cultures represented by the school’s student body was celebrated. The event was held May 12 at the all-female Catholic college prep high school located in Elizabeth.

American, African, African-American, Asian, Indian, Italian, Latino, Portuguese, Spanish, Sri Lankan, were just some of the many cultures celebrated during this year’s “International Day” at the Academy. “International Day 2011” featured a parade of flags, with students carrying the colors of the many countries represented at the school, symbolizing “all coming together as one”.

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The students, along with faculty and staff, watched ethnic dance demonstrations and heard songs and poems, and sampled various ethnic foods, which all added a cultural dimension to the day. A pageant showcasing students wearing colorful costumes signifying their cultural heritage was a highlight of the event. Students had an opportunity to learn about customs and traditions of various countries through classroom workshops given by guest presenters and students, representing South America, East Africa, West Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, the Middle East, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Haiti, the Carribean and Oceania. The goal was to have all students learn something new about one another.

Crismeldy Segura of Newark (L), a junior at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth, offers an empanada to senior Tyje Williams of Roselle during a workshop on Caribbean cultures which took place on “International Day” at the school on May 12. The annual event is now in its eighth year at the all-female Catholic college prep high school. American, African, African-American, Asian, Indian, Italian, Latino, Portuguese, Spanish, Sri Lankan, were just some of the many cultures celebrated during this year’s “International Day” at the Academy.

Angelin Thevarajah of Irvington, a sophomore at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth, describes the customs and traditions of her family’s country, Sri Lanka, while dressed in traditional garb during an “International Day” workshop at the school on May 12.

(L-R) Cousins Kulvinder Kaur, Simarjeet Kaur, both of Hillside, and Harpreet Singh of Elizabeth, donned traditional Indian dress to demonstrate a Middle Eastern Indian dance representing their cultural heritage during their school’s (Benedictine Academy) International Day, held May 12 at the all-female Catholic college prep high school in Elizabeth.

A costume pageant during Benedictine Academy’s International Day taught students about the different traditions of many countries. Representing the countries of their heritage are (L-R): Simarjeet Kaur (India), Priscilla Sunduza (Zimbabwe), Beatrice Thompson (Ghana), Shanuska Luxeus (Haiti), Eunice Watlaski (Togo), Anglin Thevarajah (Sri Lanka), Osato Omakaro (Nigeria), Cheila Cardoso (Portugal) and Angie Mery (Chile). The richness and variety of over twenty nationalities and cultures represented by the BA student body was celebrated during the event on May 12.

The entire Benedictine Academy school family gathered at the conclusion of International Day 2011 to pray a “World Peace Prayer”. Students, faculty and administration are pictured together in the school auditorium surrounding an honor guard bearing flags from around the world. The “Parade of Flags” symbolizes “all coming together as one”.


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