Over 100 topics for discussion
The sounds of Mariachi music, the smells of eggrolls and tamales and discussions of immigration, racial profiling and cultural differences will all be a part of the eighth Diversity Day to be observed Feb. 7 at Storm Lake High School.
The public is invited to join over 900 students and school personnel in celebrating Storm Lake's growing ethnic diversity through entertaining assemblies, mini-course presentations and discussion groups, an ethnic food fair and international festival.
The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the SLHS gymnasium where local Latino group "Aromas Y Raices" and SLHS' own newly formed Mariachi band will get things going with some hot salsa music. A dramatic theater event will follow, presented by Storm Lake and Sioux City drama students, hitting on current issues.
The opening assembly will feature a performance of an Afro-Brazilian martial arts form called Capoeira.
The demonstration will be provided by members of the Cedar Falls-based Cordao de Ouro Capoeira Cedar Valley.
Four mini course sessions of 55 minutes each will follow the opening assembly featuring over 100 topics addressing such issues as immigration, hate crimes and racial profiling, acquaintance rape, art of yodeling, gang trends, mental illness, Islamic beliefs, supporting Sudan, eating disorders, salsa dance, rendezvous-mountain man traditions, and celebrating differences/valuing diversity.
A closing celebration assembly at 2 p.m. in the SLHS gym will feature a return of Ballet Folkloric Mexico Hermanos Avila performing colorful and entertaining dances of Aztec and Mexican heritage.
Those participating in the day's activities should be sure not to miss a stop in the student center for a taste of the International Food Fair and Festival featuring a variety of ethnic foods for a minimal cost and a "happening" of international entertainment and fun participatory activities.
SLHS Principal Mike Hanna said the first Diversity Day began as a humble food fair planned by the German and Spanish Clubs back in 1991.
At the time, there was only 3 percent ethnic minority students attending the school.
As the diversity began to change, principal Hanna recognized that a deeper look into the changing student population needed to be done. Thus, Diversity Day was born.
Every other year, the event is held. Hanna feels with the large population and various ethnic groups represented at the school, Diversity Day is necessary and is a great learning experience for all the students of SLHS which will benefit them as the deal with life outside of high school.
"We try to prepare students for the world which is changing every day," the administrator commented.
The public is also encouraged to be a part of Diversity Days.
"With the diversity in our community, it needs to be celebrated. It is also important for the public to see how we handle diversity at our school and how proud we are of our heritage."
Visitors are asked to register at a welcome desk located in the west gym entry hallway and are welcome to come-and-go as they need throughout the day. There is no charge for admission.
Organized by the SLHS students and staff with assistance from CommUNITY Education personnel and others, Diversity Day promises to be both highly educational and great fun.