FEATURE: New tradition showcases celebration of diversity



Participants of the multicultural fair gather for pep talk before final show.

On March 2nd, Plainfield East held its first Annual Multicultural Fair. The fair highlighted  different cultures and ethnicities at East, creating a space for people to be appreciated and understand that much can be learned from one another. 

The idea for the fair emerged last year when students were disappointed a cultural day was not chosen for Spirit Week. Seniors Maida Rizwan and Serena Sah took the initiative to create a day to display culture, which branched into the idea for the fair.

 “It was majority student-led. … what I did and what our administrative team did, is we had a plan, we just kept giving the students timelines and guidance to pull off an event like that. They did the majority of the work,” Michael Romeli, assistant principal said.

The fair included informational booths, performances, and a fashion show. Rizwan and Sah also ensured the fair would continue for years to come.

“When we started it, we made sure we wanted it continued on for years to come. So it’s like a tradition … when we graduate we told them, ‘hey we’re going to have this done every year’,” Rizwan said.

The purpose of the fair was to immerse students in the different cultures of their peers and allow them to learn from each other. Often, incorrect ideas and misunderstanding can come off as rude and a form of ignorance, furthermore showing the significance of holding such an event at East to combat such ideas. 

“I used to wear like a dress … a shalwar kameez like once a month on Fridays. And I remember this group of girls looking at me really weird and making inappropriate comments about my clothing like ‘oh she looks like from Aladdin’ … and I was like that’s not okay. So like having this put out there so students can see cultural clothing and that kind of stuff, know comments like that aren’t acceptable to make and be aware that there are other cultures and other things that exist outside of what they see in their everyday lives,” Rizwan said.

The fair accomplished this by bringing the student body together to execute their goals and create an open atmosphere for students. 

Through the work of students and staff, many memorable moments emerged from the event, including certain performances. 

“ … When certain songs would play and you would see a group of kids from a certain ethnicity or region all run to the center and start dancing together–that just made my heart really happy,” Sah said.

Support from teachers was also instrumental to the creation of the fair.. 

“Ms. Fairfield says it all the time … I feel like her always saying that … when Serena said ‘oh we should do it’ like she said it light-heartedly, and then I was like ‘let’s go do it right now’ … we’re actually going to take this into action … because as Ms. Fairfield says [‘you have a voice and your voice matters,’]” said Rizwan.