Uniting Over Difference: Henderson Hosts Cultural Night

Posted on 05/10/2019
Family in front of the Turkey display

Students spend their entire school day together, but often don’t know much about their classmates outside of school. They make friends, play together, learn together, and grow together. But talking about their culture and heritage isn’t something that’s typically brought up on the playground.

“When you only see each other at school, it’s hard to picture what each other’s lives are like at home with their families,” said Marie McDowell, Henderson Parent and PTO board secretary. “Cultural Night was a chance for our kids to unite together by celebrating what makes us different.”

To help spread acceptance and understanding, Henderson Elementary hosted a Cultural Night on Friday, April 26. Parents and their families set up tables and booths to display items related to their heritage. In total, 12 countries were represented: Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Germany, India, Ireland, Jordan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Turkey, and Wales.

“The goal of hosting Cultural Night was to learn about the different cultures represented here at Henderson Elementary,” said McDowell. “We have such a wonderfully diverse community, and it seemed like a great learning opportunity to hear directly from our families about where they come from and how their daily lives are influenced by their heritage.”

Attendees could chat about the countries and cultures represented. Tables were decorated with photographs, traditional fabrics and instruments, and national flags. Students could complete a variety of activities, including coloring sheets, practicing with chopsticks, and cutting out a handprint in a wide range of skin-toned construction paper. Participants could sample food, listen to music, and were able to watch a traditional Indian dance performance. Francis Howell North High School’s German Club also set up a table displaying German culture.

“My hope is that a small elementary school Cultural Night can help plant seeds of acceptance, understanding, tolerance, and love,” said McDowell. “[And I hope that] that those seeds can be carried forward and grow into a life-long appreciation for the people around us!”

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