Cultural Fair – Central Collegiate, Moose Jaw
The Cultural Fair for Central Collegiate Institute involved students creating information boards on their country or the country that they were studying, and to either prepare a food dish from that country or perform some kind of entertainment from that country. There were a total of 20 booths, the entire school attended, an adult EAL class from Moose Jaw Multicultural Council came (approximately 30 students), and in the evening approximately 50 people from the community came to enjoy the Cultural Fair. Countries included in the fair include: Somalia, Italy, Guinea Bissau, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Zambia, Libya, Swaziland, France, Canadian Aboriginals, the Philippines, Philippines – Typhoon, Iran, Kosovo, Ukraine, Sweden, New Guinea, & Spain. In addition to the food booths, there were 6 groups of students who did presentations on various things within their countries, from song, to dance, to storytelling.
“I learned to be more accepting of different ethnicity food flavours,” said Grade 10 student, Mitah. “I also talked to more people than I would have talked to before.”
The objective of the project was to raise awareness of students within the school and have them understand the variety of different cultures that are present within the school and community. Hopefully, creating a deeper understanding of the cultures and diversity by asking questions of the students at the booth and reading the information presented there. Walking around, there were many students asking questions at the booth, curious of the food and the country. There was much more prominence placed on the food portion of it, and that was the main factor that was noticed, but even that opens the students up to other ideas and ethnic norms.
The evening portion was successful and the community members and parents were very excited to see the students showing their culture and seeing them embrace and display their country. Many parents came later to comment on how good it was to see students showing off their origins. Tickets for food were sold for $1 each, and all funds went into EAL scholarships for the school. In total $556 were raised and went towards the school scholarships.
“Our 2013 Cultural Fair was a huge success as it provided an opportunity for Newcomer students to showcase their cultures while at the same time providing an opportunity for our Canadian students to learn about other customs and cultures in a single afternoon. The displays were informative, detailed and well-presented,” said Scott Williamson, Principal. “I often think about how it would feel to be a Canadian student in Sudan, showcasing hockey, skating and snowmen while serving Poutine and discussing the extremes in our climate. Our Cultural Fair also provides an opportunity to bridge some of the potential misunderstandings that may exist between cultures.”