New Hall seniors celebrate first culture day

Students representing 20 countries taught peers and teachers some basic facts about their homelands, amid a day of song, dance and food

An Essex boarding school celebrated its first senior divisions’ culture day last week.

More than 50 New Hall School students, representing 20 countries, taught peers and teachers some basic facts about their homelands, as well as insights into their respective cultures.

Students created playlists of favourite music from their countries – resulting in a vast display of dances and singing in many different languages – as well as enjoying everything from Japanese language learning to Chinese calligraphy, Ghanaian and Spanish games to Nigerian snacks.

Students from Kenya, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, and Sierra Leone were said to be especially pleased at being part of such an event during Black History Month.

The idea of a day of cultural exchange and celebration initially came from Tianna Yagnik and was swiftly picked up by her peers in year 13.

They organised a culture day at the preparatory divisions before the summer break, before repeating the formula at last week’s event for the seniors.

The culture day was filled with a wide variety of dances

“I was representing India, but it felt as though I was part of all the cultures,” said Tianna.

“A day like this makes you realise how connected everyone is through culture – seeing people learning about their friends’ countries and dancing to the traditional music. Everyone felt included and seen through this celebration.”

One of those trying her hand at writing Chinese characters – not to mention participating in a Jamaican knowledge quiz and learning Spanish dance moves – was school head, Katherine Jeffrey.

“I have been principal for 20 years, yet it never ceases to amaze me how excited our students are to contribute to our school community,” she said.

“I see hundreds of students and teachers coming to learn and celebrate their peers’ cultures, and it all started with a handful of enthusiastic year 13 students with a brilliant idea.”

Main pic: Ghanaian, Romanian and Moldovan students celebrate culture day

Read more: New materials launched to help teach Black history

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