“The student population has grown drastically in the past 15 years,” District Diversity Coordinator Jesse Gossett said. “During the 1995-1996 school year, the district had about 2,600 students. Today, we have 7,600. More people in the district means a greater diversity among the students and staff, so we are trying to offer more programs to help students embrace and celebrate the diversity of the district.”
Freedom High School will host its inaugural Ethnic Potluck Dinner in the school’s multipurpose room on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. Students and the community are invited to bring their favorite ethnic dish to share. There is no admission fee – just bring some food and enjoy. The event will also include cultural performances by Freedom’s various student clubs.
Throughout the month of February, Liberty High School’s leadership class will display posters featuring inspirational quotes derived from the Civil Rights movement, and the morning announcement will include historical facts associated with Black History Month.
Heritage High School Principal Larry Oshodi, one of the district’s two black principals, is excited by the prospect of more multicultural activities on campus.
“Heritage is a diverse community, but the emphasis on multiculturalism and celebrating diversity and change isn’t something that stays in the classroom,” Oshodi said. “Our students have organized clubs dedicated to a variety of cultures, religions and interests, and many of them create events designed to share their culture with the rest of the community. Heritage is definitely a fitting name for this school.”
In honor of Black History Month, the Heritage library will present a special display of books written by black authors, and the Career Center will showcase historically black colleges and universities.
Oshodi is working on a plan to observe each history-specific month, such as women’s history in March, Hispanic heritage in September and Asian and Pacific Islander heritage in September during the 2012-2013 school year.
Regina Greene, principal of La Paloma, has noticed students taking the initiative, proposing programs and activities to help celebrate diversity and educate each other about different lifestyles and customs.
“We’re out to plant that seed about the acceptance of diversity within the community, and we hope that the students will go home and share what they’ve learned with their friends, family and neighbors,” Greene said. “We’re trying to educate the community as a whole, because what it comes down to is that Black History Month isn’t just about black history. It’s about America’s history.”