Middle School celebrates Diversity Day with story and song

This year’s Middle School Diversity Day celebration saw more than a dozen students share their stories during an early-morning assembly Oct. 26 in the CFA’s Hale Theater. 

Thanks to this generosity, audience members learned more about the journeys some of these families have taken and about the cultural heritage which makes those journeys unique. Presentations ran the gamut: an explanation of the five-day religious festival of Diwali; an exploration of the wonders of Kenya, including the dazzling beaches of Mombasa; a first-person description of a recent bar mitzvah; and one student’s account of a grandfather’s odyssey from Vietnam to the United States. There was an original musical composition performed on guitar, a discussion of traditional Haitian dishes such as griot, a shout-out to Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt and the “small but mighty island called Jamaica,” and one family’s recipe for Irish soda bread. Two students discussed the challenges of remote learning — especially when the Zoom call is from a continent away — while yet another emphasized the importance of adding that extra dollar in a Shagun envelope. 

“Thank you, everybody, for sharing,” Middle School Arts Faculty and MS Diversity Coordinator Destiny Palmer told participants midway through the event. 

The celebration included other highlights as well. Middle School History Faculty Danny Seymour, playing his guitar, joined the Middle School Chorus in a performance of “One Day,” a song made famous by Matisyahu. Later, in a video presentation, a group of Middle School girls performed a stirring rendition of “Bring Me a Little Water, Silvie,” a song popularized by Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter. 

Grade 5 Faculty Katherine Currie also shared her experience with her younger sister, Grace, who has Down Syndrome. 

“Grace is amazing,” Currie told the audience. She added that Grace is also a wonderful aunt to Currie’s daughter, who is also named Grace. 

Head of School Chris Fortunato P ‘26, ‘28 expressed gratitude that the Middle School was in person for the event and likened the stories shared to a mosaic where pieces form a larger picture but retain their individuality. Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Connie Yepez applauded the effort of participants in “the work of telling our stories,” and Middle School Director Galen Hamann encouraged students to accept the stories of their classmates as what they are: gifts. 

“It is my hope that what gets shared today lasts for much longer than today,” said Hamann.

Thayer Academy Diversity Day Shaanveer Gupta

Shaanveer Gupta ‘26 performs “Allegro,” an original composition, during the 2021 Middle School Diversity Day. 

Thayer Academy Diversity Day Destiny Palmer

Middle School Arts Faculty and MS Diversity Coordinator Destiny Palmer, one of the key organizers of Middle School Diversity Day, thanked participants for sharing their stories. 

Thayer Academy Diversity Day Catherine Macharia

Catherine Macharia ‘28 shared highlights of her Kenyan ancestry with classmates and audience members at Middle School Diversity Day held Oct. 26 in the CFA’s Hale Theater. 


 

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