MONROE, CT — Masuk High School celebrated the diverse backgrounds of its student body with a Cultural Fair last week, with dancing, music and a display of over 30 nations in the cafeteria.
“I was blown away by the amount of support that the fair got,” said Yara Shaik, who started the fair with the Peer Leadership Team last year. “We went from 20ish stands and four performances, to 30 stands and more than five performances. This fair couldn’t have been more of a success. Thank you to everyone who made it happen.”
Students visited booths to learn about the cultures of different nations, while dining on international foods prepared by Cafeteria Manager Horacio Coito and his staff at Sodexo.
“All our cafeteria staff and myself truly enjoyed the event,” Coito said. “We had a big line of kids for the international food sampler and some of our most popular dishes, like the French crepes, disappeared quickly.”
The program is almost entirely student run with teachers and administrators lending support where needed. Though it began with the efforts of Shaik and the Peer Leadership Team, this year it quickly spread to include many clubs and students, who wish to show pride in their personal heritage.
A fashion show, dancing …
Events of the school assembly included a fashion show of cultural dress, a dance performance by several Indian students, and two songs by the Masuk Choir. The first selection was a Spanish song called “Riu Riu Chiu” based on birdsongs.
In the second, Choir Director Margaret Chaves played the Djembe Drum while the chorus sang the Haitian folk song “Wangol” to an awe-inspired crowd of students and teachers.
Natalia Di Scala, a sophomore who hails from Argentina, organized a soccer juggling competition among students as a tribute to Argentinian soccer greats like Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. While senior Karina Morales put up some stiff competition, it was sophomore Tommy Warner who took home the winning prize: a 2022 World Cup Soccer Ball.
The Cultural Fair is a combination of the passionate participation of Masuk students and the leadership and organization of French teacher Iga Leszczynska.
“Without Madame L and the leadership of students like Yara, this day of celebration would never be possible,” said Assistant Principal Ian Lowell.
“It was a truly wonderful celebration that brought different cultural backgrounds and ages together,” said Leszczynska. “I can’t find words to describe how much fun I had myself participating at the event and watching many students work on this project in the course of a few past weeks.”
The Cultural Fair is an excellent opportunity for students to connect with one another and have fun, according to Leszczynska.
Brayden Renkavinsky, a junior, said, “the Masuk Cultural Fair is always a great experience for students. Especially right after AP tests, it is a great change of pace away from the stress of studying that allows us to express our creativity.”
“The culture fair is something that’s important in every school,” said Safa Memon, a junior. “Having it at Masuk is simply a dream. Coming into school with my cultural clothes and seeing everyone else’s is such an amazing experience. Spreading the joy of the different ways of life was something that brought the school together and made everyone feel a sense of excitement.”