November 22, 2005 > Elementary school celebrates cultural diversity
Elementary school celebrates cultural diversity
by Sabrina Mahajan
Delaine Eastin Elementary, a California Distinguished School in Union City, celebrated Diwali - the Indian festival of lights, with a spectacular assembly this month to enrich cultural diversity among the students.
"Schools have a responsibility to provide opportunities for students to expand not only their academic minds but their cultural awareness as well," said John Mattos the school's principal.
Organized by an Eastin parent Nita Trivedi, and supported by many parents and school staff, the assembly explained to children the different events in Diwali. It also showed how and why Diwali is celebrated in India. Diwali begins with cleaning and decorating the house and special sweets are prepared. Every night fireworks are displayed.
Abhi Pradhan and Omkar Mahajan walked students through the different events in Diwali by a series of skits. This was accompanied by performance of traditional Indian dances such as Bhangra- a dance which originated in Punjab, a northern state of India and requires extensive footwork, Garba - a dance, performed with sticks and requires intricate hand movements, with its roots in Gujarat, a state of India, and a Diya dance that originated in the northern parts of India. The students who performed were: Nikhita Hazari, Shivani Mahuakar, Uma Mahajan, Manasi Nagtode, Shawn Atwal, Sahil Trivedi, Nikhil Trivedi, Kareena Hazari, Aria Chimela, Akil Raju, Rupali Sujan, Priyanka Sujan, Armaan Mangalani, Shreya Madan, Smruti Balebail, Shreyas Balebail and Shreya Madan.
Aria Chimela a new student at Eastin said, "I loved being part of the Diwali program at Delaine Eastin School. It reminded me of all the Diwalis I celebrated in India before coming to this country." Her mother Sreedevi added, "A couple of days earlier we saw the same kids going out with excitement for their 'trick or treat' trek around the neighborhood. To see similar enthusiasm in the kids who performed today at the Diwali program is proof enough that these parents are succeeding in teaching their kids to balance the Indian culture and traditions along with the American culture and traditions, and that's something to be very proud of."