The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

Multicultural Fest celebrates students’ heritage and cultural backgrounds April 26

Opening the Multicultural Fest, Black Student Union Vice President Samira Jackson, Hispanic and Latin Culture Club President Celeste Ruiz and Asian Youth and Leadership Association Club President Justin Kuo welcome the audience to the show in the theater. Photo by Desiree Montejano.

Plan, prepare and perform: three steps Asian Youth Leadership Association, Black Student Union, Hispanic and Latin Culture Club and Multicultural Club took to create a safe environment for students to represent the culture they have grown up with.

The Multicultural Fest, led by leadership Student Life Commissioner Rayzel Palakiko and leadership Student Life Committee, consisted of 10 student-led performances.

“Planning the event took literally months and weeks,” Palakiko said. “We had to meet with cultural club presidents as efforts just to brainstorm ideas, collaborate and make sure we were on the same page. As long as we stayed organized and knew what our end goal was, we were able to make it happen.”

To prepare, leaders had to consider different aspects of the event including students’ interests, entertainment and inclusivity.

“The most challenging part is thinking outside the box and thinking from a student’s perspective,” Palakiko said. “There was the question of ‘How can we celebrate tonight without any negative things going on or people making this event something it’s not?”

Aiming for an improved version of the Multicultural Fest, Palakiko made it her goal to collaborate with culture club presidents. 

“Last year, the culture club presidents held a Culture Fest, but it was only them working to produce the event without leadership collaborating with them,” Palakiko said. “I think finding that collaboration between each other is the biggest difference between last year and this year’s performances, especially since leadership has access to resources that the club presidents don’t.

Students volunteered to sing songs and perform dances that represented their culture through movement and language.

“I wanted to showcase a part of my Indian culture to others on campus,” Sanjana Singh said. “No other South Asians or Indians [performed] so I believed it would be cool if I were to do it. I think events like this are important because many are unaware of cultures and traditions of minorities on campus – these are the kind of things that let everyone be educated on the different cultures we have on campus.”

Going into the performance, Bella Widrin, who represented the Hawaiian and Tahitian culture, set goals for what the audience could learn through her dance. 

“I hope people [learned] more about the variety of cultures that others may have never heard of or seen, and what these cultures do that is considered normal for many people,” Widrin said. “Events like this are important and should be shared with our community and students so people can show how they have grown up within their culture to inform others about them.”


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