Nottingham Students Host 19th Multicultural Festival

     Published on 5/29/15   Tagged under:    District News   

Students at Nottingham High School took part in the school’s 19th Multicultural Festival, intended to celebrate the cultural diversity of the school’s population. Students, parents and teachers enjoyed dancing, music and an abundance of food representing diverse cultures.
For some students, the festival represented a cause. Freshman Imane Aitnajim from Morocco worked with her friend Shukri Sharif, a sophomore from Somalia, to sell food with 50 percent of the proceeds benefitting those impacted by the recent earthquakes in Nepal. “We realized that our flags kind of look alike, and we’re really good friends, so we thought why not share a table,” Imane explained. “We wanted to be able to contribute, which is why half of our proceeds are being donated.”
Other students appreciated the festival as an opportunity to recall memories of a different culture. Sophomore Vizma Leimanis and her mom worked together to cook up Latvian treats. Vizma said she was pleased to participate. “I came to the festival last year, and no one was representing Latvia! I thought this year I’d share,” she said. Her mother jokingly added that they secretly hoped no one purchased any of their strawberry pastries or bacon and lentil-filled buns, so they could enjoy them later.
Naamala Wanyana has been in the United States for just a year and a half, and for her, the event had more emotional ties. “I wanted to show people our culture, and doing this reminds me of being home in Uganda,” she explained.
Muslima Ahmed expressed similar feelings. A 2013 Nottingham graduate, Muslima is currently a student at OCC, studying Criminal Justice. She came back to her alma mater to serve sabaya—a beef, onion, potato and vegetable-filled pastry. “I wanted to present my Somalian culture,” she said. “I came here when I was little and I don’t remember much, but my mom taught me how to make these. It’s a good memory for me.”
All students who participated expressed a new understanding of each other and other cultures. “This makes me feel like I can get my culture out there and not be so shy,” freshman Jolene Merritt said, noting that she is not Greek but was raised so. “It makes me happy that people can see what the country is like.”
Senior Senid Salihovic proudly walked through the festival with a Bosnian flag tied around his neck. “We come from such diverse cultures,” he exclaimed. “We’re all so different. But at the same time, we’re all the same because we come together as a family everyday.”

Take a look at the festival by clicking through our Flickr album >>>