Cool in School: Wayzata Festival of Nations showcases diversity

7:33 AM, Apr 14, 2011   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

PLYMOUTH, Minn. -- It's show and tell on a grand scale.  For weeks students at Wayzata High School have been pulling together family heirlooms, games, clothing and other items to show students, staff and the public something about their heritage.

Sophomore Miri Choi models a colorful outfit that generally would never make an appearance at school.  "This is Korean traditional outfit, and you wear this usually on New Year's Day."

Students are preparing for the third annual Festival of Nations, Friday, April 15th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Wayzata High School.  It is a free and public event that showcases the diversity at the school through the 41 nations that will be represented at the event.

"They'll see dances, different exhibits from countries.  They'll have a taste of different foods from different counties," said Eram Mashadi, an English Language teacher for the Wayzata School District.  Guests will also be able to purchase items from a market place, and enjoy music from different cultures.

Mashadi is herself a product of Wayzata schools.  "I think it's changed a lot because I think I was the only outsider when I was a student at Wayzata High School," explained Mashadi. 

Mashadi's mother is Fauzia Siddiqui, also an English Language teacher, and the person who brought the Festival of Nations idea to Wayazata High School.  It all started when Siddiqui took students to the Festival of Nations celebrated annually in Saint Paul.

"One day I thought, 'It would be nice to have something like that at our school,'" said Siddiqui, who is originally from Pakistan.

She sees it as a chance for her students to take pride in where they have come from, and also to build community within the school, and perhaps a bridge for families that might have otherwise stayed away.

"I've seen lots of parents come in, parents who would ordinarily not come to the school because of the language, or they are shy to come to school," said Siddiqui.

Shraddha Raghavan, a junior at the school, will demonstrate dance from India as well as showcase items from her family's homeland.

"It's a multi-cultured school, so being able to show your background and what you can present from your culture is very nice, and it gives us a good opportunity," said Raghavan.

People will also be invited to show their pride in the United States.  One student will be dressed up at Uncle Sam.  His job will be to ask people to share their thoughts on what the U.S. means to them, and write them down on a display at the event.

For more information, click on  Wayzata High School Festival of Nations.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All rights reserved.)

Most Watched Videos