Episcopal’s first-ever, student-organized International Week, held March 28 - April 1, showcased music, food, and customs from a sampling of the myriad regions and cultures from which EHS students hail.
Junior Jimin Kim, who spearheaded International Week, says, “I thought there needed to be a school-wide event in which students could collectively share their cultural backgrounds and raise awareness on the diversity present at school.”
With the help of the Cultural Ambassador Committee — a student club that she founded this year to raise awareness of and celebrate different cultures — and several faculty members, Jimin and 16 of her peers got to work. “It definitely took us much effort to gather ideas on how to organize the event, from reaching out to different clubs, to raising funds, to contacting organizations outside of school to be a part of the festival,” Jimin says.
“However, after months of cooperating with each other, we could finally see what we imagined turn into reality. For the whole week, we could see students and faculty coming in to the student center, full of decorations from various countries, to watch performances, enjoy music, and openly experience the cultures of many of the countries that Episcopal students come from.”
From origami making and paper-fan decorating, to salsa dancing lessons and performances by African and Irish musical ensembles, the week’s activities introduced the School to favorite traditions from around the world and celebrated the diversity of the community.
“This was one of the best examples of student leadership I've ever seen,” says Dean of International Students Ben Courchesne. “A group of students had a vision, organized themselves, asked for help, figured out the logistics, and connected all the relevant parties — teachers, administration, alumni, and students — to celebrate cultural diversity at EHS. We're impressed with the results and proud of the initiative!”
In the days leading up to International Week, students and faculty were asked what they were most looking forward to. “The food” was the hands-down winning response, and it did not disappoint! From crepes, to sushi, to churritos, community members sampled a variety of international treats throughout the week.
“We were more than glad to see people enjoying all the events, and we look forward to making this into a long-lasting tradition at EHS,” says Jimin.
Every year, students and educators from independent schools gather together for the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference (PoCC) and Student Leadership Diversity Conference (SDLC).