Fair Celebrates Diverse Cultures at Hotchkiss


Jerry Sheng ’20

Alisa Ghura ’19 presents Mauritian culture to Aritri Ghosh ’19, Nneka Okoli ’19, Priyanka Kumar ’19, and Anne Seaman ’20 at the Cultural Fair.

At a boarding school, students often yearn for traditions from home, whether it be the food, games, or clothing. On February 24, Linkage and St. Luke’s Society encouraged students to bring their home to school by hosting the Cultural Fair in the Main Hallway and the Student Center.

The Cultural Fair began its celebrations last Friday, when students wore traditional clothing during the school day. Some students represented the warm weather of California by wearing Birkenstocks shoes, while others wore traditional Cheongsam dresses from China. 

During auditorium on Friday, students Abby Powell ’21, Yuka Masamura ’21, Ashley Williams ’21, and Jesse Swan ’20 presented important aspects of their cultures. Powell described the joy of Bermudian holidays, Masamura showed photos of traditional Japanese food, Swan showed the bright lights and busy streets of Hong Kong looks, and Williams danced to Jamaican music. 

The Fair on Saturday consisted of nearly 20 booths inviting students to enjoy food, games, and trivia about cultures represented at the school. Each booth was given a table and the freedom to showcase its culture in any way.  Mahmood Almadeh ’20, the representative of Bahrain, served three traditional Bahraini breakfast dishes accompanied by pita bread. He also brought dates and halwa, a jelly dessert with spices and nuts. “I was very proud to teach others about my culture, as I am the only student in the school who represents [Bahrain],” Almadeh said.

At the Quebéc station, Dylan Kalaydjian ’19 tried to create tire d‘érable, a traditional Canadian dessert made by boiling maple syrup. “You are supposed to get a taffy-like substance,” Kalaydjian explained. “However, my maple syrup just mixed with the snow. It was a big hit, nonetheless.”

The Chinese table provided a variety of Chinese games and activities. Students paraded through the Student Center in a colorful dragon costume, while others tried on Chinese masks. Many visitors laughed and smiled as they tried to kick a jian zi, a weighted plume of feathers, into the air.  A large group of students and faculty children remained playing the game even as organizers broke down tables after the fair.

Danaya Bogacheva ’21 spent nearly two hours walking up and down the halls of Main Hallway discovering each stand. She said, “The Cultural Fair provided an opportunity for students to discover and learn about diverse cultures represented by their peers, which created an educational and inclusive environment. Plus, all of the food tasted great!”

Linkage and St. Luke’s began preparing for the Cultural Fair in early January by reaching out to many affinity groups and clubs on campus.  Rock Zhu ’20, coordinator of the Cultural Fair, said, “We not only hope[d] that our peers [could] learn more about different countries. We want[ed] to inspire them to learn more about other perspectives and to share their own stories with pride.”

Students at the Fair made sure to provide suggestions for upcoming years in hopes of attracting a larger turnout. Bogacheva said. “I hope some interactive games could be organized so that everyone could join in and play. This way, there would be more integration between the food and education.”

St. Luke’s and Linkage hope to continue the annual tradition of the Cultural Fair.