Bodine High School for International Affairs celebrates rich cultures during annual event
Bodine High School for International Affairs celebrated its 35th Annual International Day Friday. During the day, which was almost entirely student-run, students taught their peers and teachers about different aspects of their cultures through various self-designed workshops. The event culminated in an outdoor school fair open to the public including food trucks serving Mexican to Middle Eastern fare.
“What’s great about this day is that students get to take control. The kids get to show off their cultures that they’re really proud of,” said Ashley Devoy, a biology teacher at Bodine.
“The student population is much more diverse than our faculty, so it’s a really great opportunity for us to learn from our students.”
In a school with a student body in which 90 percent are students of color, International Day serves as a yearly reminder and celebration of the school’s diversity, with celebrations of East Asian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino, and African heritages and cultures.
Bodine principal Karen Thomas said that this sharing of cultures is part of being a school centered around international affairs.
“Bodine’s mission emphasizes education about global issues to prepare our students for a lifetime of achievement and participation in their local, national, and global communities,” she said.
“Because Bodine attracts students from such a variety of ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds, we take this day each year to allow our students to create and present to their peers about their cultural heritage.”
The workshops covered topics ranging from hip-hop culture to Middle Eastern culture. The students began planning their workshops months in advance and chose their own topics.
Zahrah Ahmad, a junior who helped lead the workshop on Middle Eastern culture, said that the most rewarding part of the day was students’ responses to her presentations.
“We’ve been doing the Middle East workshop for the past three years because people just don’t know that much about our culture,” she said.
“But after our presentation, students will approach me and tell me how much they liked it, and seem like they really remember stuff we talked about. When I walk down the hall, students will be like, ‘Palestine represent!’ It feels really nice.”