Last Friday, the Fairmont North Tustin Campus’ Associated Student Body (ASB) hosted their second annual Diwali Celebration. The campus was bustling with activity Friday morning as curious parents risked being late to work to see some of the festivities. Campus staff, faculty, and students rushed through the halls, making sure they were where they needed to be by the time celebrations began. Many teachers and students wore traditional Indian clothing to celebrate the day, kindly brought in by Fairmont families excited to share their culture.
At 8:30 am, teachers began gathering their classes around the campus basketball courts where parents had already begun to congregate. The morning began with a dramatized reading by 8th graders explaining some of the Indian mythology surrounding Diwali. They told the story of Rama and Sita, a husband and wife about to inherit a kingdom, but banished before they could take their rightful place on the throne. The 8th graders told the story with confidence and theatrics before introducing classmates, Ankhita C. and Anisha P., to teach their fellow students a traditional Indian dance.
“Our 8th graders love to participate in these types of activities where they can interact with our younger students,” ASB advisor Rami Harb shared. “They are such a fun and spirited group; it makes complete sense that they offered to lead our younger grade levels in the dance instruction.”
As the dance lesson began, laughter broke out across the courts as students tried to keep up with the steps. The older students seemed to pick it up the quickest while younger students had fun simply bopping around to the music and getting caught up in the contagious excitement.
To close out the assembly, all students were invited to join Ankhita and Anisha on the court for a final run-through of the dance. Though initially shy, once a couple of students convinced their friends to join them, the court was filled with exuberant children rushing to keep up with the fluid dance moves.
Celebrations continued on throughout the day during the students’ snack and lunchtime. During their snack break, students were able to sample Indian treats, while the day’s main activities were saved for lunchtime with dance lessons provided for junior kindergarten through 1st grade students, temporary henna tattoos, and a photo booth.
“I would say the students enjoy the snacks the most,” Mr. Harb said of the activities.
ASB hosted their first Diwali Celebration last year in an effort “to include a focus on cultural awareness events as part of [ASB’s] overall mission of celebrating school spirit.”
“We try to be mindful of the different cultures on our campus and celebrate events that we know are important to our students and families,” Mr. Harb said.
The North Tustin Campus ASB will continue hosting cultural events throughout the school year with celebrations for Lunar New Year, Persian New Year, Holi, Cinco de Mayo, and Mardi Gras.
The campus recognizes that these events not only celebrate culture but also serve as a way to educate students about cultures they may not previously have known or understood.
“Our student body is incredibly diverse,” Mr. Harb explained. “The more we can do to celebrate that spirit of multiculturalism, the better we can prepare our students to succeed in an increasingly connected world.”