Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute (VCI) showcased the many cultures that make up the school community, and surrounding area on the evening of Thursday, May 25.
The VCI Multicultural Festival featured entertainment and food from around the world, presented by students and area residents. The idea for the festival started in March 2023 with grade 10 students Tabassum Kaisar and Afraa Zainul-Abdeen, who are the leaders of the VCI Student Voice Committee. During the current school year, the committee has been attempting to educate students to not use hate-based language and both Kaisar and Zainul-Abdeen thought an event that brought people together would encourage conversation and questions.
Kaisar’s background is from Bangladesh and Zainul-Abdeen’s background is in Sri Lanka. Both students were born in Canada and live in Hawkesbury. They said the Multicultural Festival is the first opportunity they have had to share their cultures with others in school and the community.
Both said there is not a serious issue with hate-based language at VCI.
Several students, staff members, residents, and businesses provided various ethnic foods for the event. It was possible to enjoy Greek souvlaki courtesy of Goodies Restaurant in Hawkesbury, Caribbean roti—a lamb stew, tourtière, and warm Scottish potato scones all in one meal. On stage, students presented a variety of ethnic music and dance. Displays of countries around the world were also prepared by students and showcased at the event.