Diversity shines at culture fair

Different clubs join together to share their cultures with community


Anvi Kataria

Bharatanatyam dancers pose for a picture after their performance of the Lord Shiva piece, Natesha Kauthvam.

Excitement from kids buzzed around as people explored unique booths and learned about different cultures in Cal High’s community at last month’s the culture fair.
The fair, which was hosted on Feb. 25 and organized by leadership and Cal’s ethnic studies classes, featured many of the school’s cultural clubs selling snacks and hosting games.
“With ethnic studies and House Six [a section of leadership], we have been collaborating and reaching out to different clubs, and to outside community performers who want to participate,” leadership teacher Hannah Cheng said.
In leadership, people are sorted into eight houses. Each house must plan an event or rally in a year. House Six decided they wanted to plan the culture fair.
Ethnic studies teacher Benjamin Andersen’s class helped leadership with contacting clubs and organizing the event.
Clubs hosting booths included the Indian Student Association (ISA), Asian Student Association (ASA), Jewish Student Association (JSU), and more.
Each club sold items such as snacks or hosted games for students to play to raise money. They also decorated their booths with different aspects of their culture to share diversity and spread awareness.
In order for their booths to be featured, clubs had to fulfill certain requirements, such as talking about their cultural background or having to wear ethnic attire. These requirements were decided by leadership and Andersen’s ethnic studies class.
There were a variety of vibrant performances such as the Chalkaa Club’s Bhangra (a type of dance), Bollywood dances, a Taekwondo demonstration, and a speech from the Black Student Union.
“The culture fair was coming up during Black History Month and we wanted to pay homage to those that inspire us, our historical leaders,” said the president of BSU, Dinari Biez.

They performed speeches and poems by Black leaders and thinkers in order to show off writers like Sonia Sanchez and James Baldwin and their ideas.

“We also wanted to demonstrate the writings of greats that spoke up to the injustices during segregation like Jackie Robinson or resisted fighting the Vietnam War like Muhammad Ali,” Biez said.

Seniors Kylie Chung and Chloe Nery were beckoning students to learn how to play Mahjong and enjoy egg tarts with them at the Mahjong Club booth.

Mahjong is a traditional Chinese gambling game, similar to poker. The game itself has six different versions and the club decided to play the Hong Kong version. They also sold egg tarts, a traditional Chinese food item called Dan Tat in Cantonese.

“We did the Mahjong to show more of Chinese culture,” Nery said.

Another club there was the Jewish Student Union, which was selling traditional shortbread cookies called Hamantaschen. The cookies are eaten on the Jewish holiday Purim. Purim is a Jewish holiday celebrated in the spring to mark the failure of the Haman Massacre.

JSU President Michelle Osnovikov said she liked the fair and it was a good fundraising opportunity for her club. She also liked learning about other cultures.

Cal parent Shilpika Seth attended the fair.

“I like the fact that [clubs] have a diversity of booths here,” Seth said.

Seth especially enjoyed the Henna booth ISA was doing. ISA sold a traditional Indian drink, mango lassi, and also made Medni (henna) with traditional designs. The booth also included a poster detailing different aspects of Indian culture and showcased the nation’s flag.

“The more we know about different cultures, the broader we make our outlook and accept [people] for who they are,” ISA teacher advisor and registrar Vinita Battu said at the fair.