On June 9th, students at PS 346 broadened their pallets during the school’s annual lunchtime gathering for Multicultural Day.
Dozens of tables were lined along the gymnasium’s walls, each covered with an assortment of rice, chicken, and pastas. The children excitedly bounced on their heels holding onto paper plates and plastic utensils as they inhaled the tantalizing aroma of spices, herbs, meats and other foods from various cultures.
Every corner of the school represented different parts of the world, from posters, research projects and art work signifying India, Japan, Mexico, and China to delicious delicacies from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Thailand.
Many of the children, like Alexis Zeno were willing to try anything that looked delectable, particularly the desserts. “I like all of the desserts, the cakes, lollipops and cupcakes,” she said requesting more cookies.
The three hour festivity is an honored tradition for Principal Kevin Caifa, whose school serves close to 700 students. Caifa believes that this event is an important part in embracing the students’ culture and collective history. “This is our 11th year in a row holding Multicultural Day at PS 346. Every year we count on our parents to help us celebrate our heritage by bringing in food and working on projects with the students,” Caifa said.
For several weeks leading up to the event, students researched their families’ heritage and were encouraged to bring in souvenirs and food that best represents their ethnic background as a part of their social studies curriculum.
Parent Coordinator Onika Hawker helped organize the event with staff, parents, and students. “This is one of the occasions, where we have the most parents volunteering. It is so amazing seeing the children take the opportunity to try food and discover other cultures,” Hawker said.
Some of the children attending Multicultural Day wore outfits representing their culture, while others simply wore flags depicting their heritage. Jerel Cousins was so excited that he devoured much of the food on his plate to make room for more as he walked along the buffet. “My favorite is Mac and Cheese with chicken,” he said.
The entire event broadened students’ minds by giving them an opportunity to research other cultures, taste different delicacies and see traditional clothing from various civilizations.
Photos by Amanda Moses