World Cultures Event highlights diversity

Maia Schwallie, staff reporter

On Feb. 2, 2019, culture clubs and language classes united in the West Cafeteria from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. for the fifth annual World Cultures Celebration with about 60 participants, according to Esther Bowen, math teacher and event coordinator.

Bowen says the World Cultures Celebration is a celebration of the different groups that represent the students of South and the Glenbrook community.

“At the event, there is food that people can purchase, and we send [usually half] of the donations to Shriners Hospital,” Bowen said. “There are different performances going on at the same time. We have dancing, fashion shows, instruments, comedy sketches and poetry reading.”

This year, the event featured the cultures of Japan, China, Korea, India, Mexico, France, Germany, Greece, the Deaf community and more, according to Bowen. She says that each culture had their own table with displays, food and activities.

“Poetic Unity” was the theme of this year’s event. Students from Korean American Student Association (KASA) recited original spoken word poems about their Korean American heritage, KASA Sponsor Mina Moon says. She says that the performances and the food sold at the event are high points of the celebration.

Dr. Yasuko Makita-Discekici, Japanese teacher and sponsor of the Japanese Club, says her club was at the event with activities such as origami, calligraphy and a variety of Japanese books and games. She says that the main purpose of the event is to exchange cultures between members of GBS.

“GBS is very diverse and [the students] have very different backgrounds from many different countries,” Makita-Discekici said.  “However, there are not many opportunities for the school, as a whole, to learn or share their different cultures.”

Senior Mina Kim, co-president of Japanese Club, says she played an active role in planning the event, as the World Cultures Celebration is mostly student organized.

“The students are doing their best to incorporate everything they can from different clubs and language classes,” Kim said. “I think it’s a great way for kids to learn as they interact [with the different cultures].”

Kim says she collects ideas from students in Japanese Club and brings their ideas to Bowen, who can implement their plans. This year, Japanese Club performed a fashion show where students wore traditional Japanese clothing and students also read haikus and a performer sang a Japanese song.

“There are different activities at each station, food that people can try and special stages where clubs are performing,” Kim said. “It’s a great way to interact with others and learn from the different cultural booths.”