Celebrating Culture at the SHS Diversity Fair

Member of Diversity Club pose together at the annual Diversity Fair.

Oskar Malkiewicz, Editor-in-Chief

Schaumburg’s annual Diversity Fair is a celebration of the many ethnicities, identities, and people groups that can be found at Schaumburg High School.  Each year, students share food, music dance, dress, and other elements of culture.

Diversity Club, sponsored by teacher Jose Cisneros, looks to share culture as a means of unifying SHS students by celebrating and sharing differences.  Oftentimes, people mistakenly believe that cultures can serve to divide and separate people.  Diversity Club seeks to upend this, working to encourage sharing and experience of cultures to expand our worlds and bring people together.  Each year, students visit the fair to participate in the cultural exchange that can be found there.

“Diversity Club is dedicated to the education of its members on issues of diversity and discrimination,” says Cisneros. “We start with a reflection of our own identities, and then we work to educate and engage our community regarding issues important to us.” This collaboration culminates in the Diversity Fair, a public display of inclusivity and tolerance.

According to Cisneros, “the Diversity Fair is an in-school gathering which provides our students with the opportunity to celebrate their identity. We want to provide our students with a safe place where they can do that!”

The population of Schaumburg High School has a surprisingly diverse makeup: Poland, India, Mongolia, Italy, Puerto Rico, and Laos are just some of the countries that can be found represented at the fair.  Notably, certain SHS clubs like Girl Up and the Gay Straight Alliance are also participating in conjunction with Diversity Club.  This helps to reinforce the idea that cultural heritage and racial or national background are not the same thing. Culture can be influenced by a variety of factors and Diversity Fair helps to illustrate this.

“I believe that it is important for us to continue to cherish and celebrate our cultural diversity because that in turn will strengthen us as a school and as a community,” Cisneros says. “I also believe that our students gain a greater sense of belonging.”

Finding a sense of identity is a significant part of the coming of age process, but finding a sense of belonging in a place full of so many unfamiliar faces can be a daunting task to many SHS students. “We all identify with many different cultures and groups, some stronger than others,” Cisneros says. “This club offers us a safe environment where we share these identities with others and celebrate them together. Through our meetings we are able to gain a greater awareness of issues that are important to us.”

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