Heritage Night promotes cultural unity

By Caroline Carter
Staff Writer

The designers of each of the countries displayed trifold boards are called to the stage and get applauded by the guests. Photo by Rowan Khazendar.

On the evening of Feb. 17, the Coppell High School cafeteria was consumed with students dressed in colorful attire representing their native country and food samples from different parts of the world.

With times changing, countries, cities and schools have all become more culturally diverse. In order to promote the various cultures in CHS as well as the rest of the world, the Junior World Affairs Council (JWAC) once again hosted its annual Heritage Night.

JWAC, one of the many clubs at CHS addressing global issues in the community, hosts Heritage Night every year. Senior and president of JWAC Priya Gupta was in charge this year of organizing the event, as well as facilitating other activities throughout the year.

“I facilitate all of the events and introduce new ideas to JWAC,” Gupta said. “I work with the other officers and also help with public relations and try and get other clubs involved such as eCoppell and the Spanish Club.”

This year, Gupta contacted another JWAC club from a neighboring school. By doing so, she hoped to increase the opportunities to know about the different cultures in the area.

“I reached out and talked to another JWAC from a different school,” Gupta said. “Coppell is such a diverse place that I just wanted to teach everyone about the different cultures at Coppell and around the Dallas area.”

A night filled with dancing, food and singing, Heritage Night showcased cultures from countries around the world including Ireland, Pakistan and Nigeria.

“Pretty much it [Heritage Night] is a night to experience the different cultures and countries around the world,” sophomore Jasmine Chemplanikal said. “Here in the United States, there are a lot of cultures that not many people know about. Tonight is meant to bring together everyone and form cultural unity.”

Heritage Night began with students setting up their displays and food from a specific country. The night then progressed with a talent show where students performed musical, comedy and dance acts.  In addition to the cultural activities, all proceeds for the night were donated to building houses in Somalia.

“Students formed into groups of about three people and they choose any country in the world,” sophomore Centura Anbarasu said. “We then create a tri-board and include information about the country’s culture. The guests get a taste of the culture, and we just want everyone to have a good time.”

Teachers, administrators, students and parents were treated to an exciting time during the talent show. English teacher Susan Creighton attended Heritage Night for the second year in a row, and enjoyed the night yet again.

“The dancing and singing was spectacular when I came last year,” Creighton said. “A lot of my students are performing tonight such as Kristy Liang who has an amazing opera voice that you won’t believe. There are also some skits that are goofy and fun. Then a few groups are mixing it up and combining different cultures.

With over 20 different performances by students, the talent portion of the night was a fun time for the guests.  Another aspect anticipated by many was the food sampling before the talent show.

“I usually do not come to a lot of school functions, but I knew that a lot of my friend were participating in the event,” sophomore Megan Rich said. “At the Ireland booth, I tried some of the cabbage and ham soup. I was very excited to try it since I am part Irish.”

One of the most important goals of the night was to increase the awareness of the different cultures. As Coppell is becoming more diverse every year, cultural acceptance is as crucial as ever.

“I think because of the environment that we live in, it’s important to know about the different cultures,” Creighton said. “We live in a multicultural world and are right at the point of the tipping point to have the white-Anglo Saxon be in the minority of the population. It’s important to appreciate the different cultures so that they can integrate into ours.”

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