Boys Try Salsa Dancing, Sushi Making at Cultural Arts Festival
The sun shined on the 2012 Cultural Arts Festival, announced by flags of many nations flapping from fences in front of the school and in the pick-up area. Gathering first in the Meeting Hall, the community was treated to an exciting demonstration of African dancing and drumming by members of the Agbekor Society. Sixth grader Teddy Pyne sat in during one piece, as his aunt, Faith Conant, was one of the musicians.
A highlight of the opening entertainment occurred when the group’s dancer, Nani Agbeli, called the members of the senior class to the stage and led them through an energetic number that allowed senior Austin Dorsey to demonstrate his dance moves.
After that, each venue on campus was buzzing with activity. Fenn parent Vichenny Keo-Sam spoke about Cambodian culture and offered food samplings. Other parents who offered workshops were Brenda Dupont, Jennifer Tesoro, and Mary Jo Seifert, who led a session on and samples of Wings, Wecks, and Webbers, local food in Buffalo, NY, their hometown; Becky Robichaud taught tap dancing; Ali Roshankish instructed boys in Tae Kwon Do in the old gym; Sufia Jamal assisted with puppet making; and Diana Collazo-Gallo helped with Haitian Metal Arts.
Nat Carr and Michele Heaton, two of several faculty members who offered workshops at the April 26 event, oversaw a graffiti project outdoors; Lynn Duval offered an Adinkra Stamp session in her classroom, helping her group design t-shirts on which students printed Ghanaian symbols; and out on the lawn Rob Morrison led participants through the history of soccer and the boys made primitive soccer balls.
Other workshops were offered on Peruvian Music, Ghanaian Music, Mongolian BBQ, Flatbreads of the World, Chocolate, African Dance, Indian Dance, Oceania, Origami, Nine Men’s Morris, Oware Boards, Steel Drums, Beading, Greek and Roman Bookmarks; Gardening; Rugby; and Juggling.
At the end of the day the school assembled again in the Meeting Hall to hear participants from some of the workshops talk about their experiences. Eighth graders Gavin Kennedy and Gordon Hargraves demonstrated the moves they learned in their salsa dancing session. A video overview of the day, created by ninth graders Ben Stone and Andreas Sheikh, followed, and Headmaster Jerry Ward closed the festival by noting that he was “struck by the fact that we are truly a community” as he walked around campus and observed the various activities, particularly when he saw boys looking for the flags—China? Ireland? Guatemala?—that represented their personal cultural history.
“I hope that seeds were planted not only in the school garden, but in your mind and spirit,” Mr. Ward added, “and that you will take something special away with you today.”