Daisy Garcia-Montoya 
Education Reporter

Family, staff and community members gathered on Friday, April 12th at Frontier Schools’ middle school gymnasium to celebrate cultures and backgrounds of students and the community during the 8th Annual Multicultural Festival. 

The two-hour free event provided attendees with live entertainment, performers, face painting, balloon artists and over 20 options of different booths representing different countries to explore. For the ultimate experience, attendees could purchase a $15 wristband that gave them access to try unlimited food from the various booths. 

As the event is open to the public, attendees get the opportunity to see a glimpse of the wide diversity and cultures found throughout the staff and students at Frontier Schools.

Frontier Schools Director of Health, Safety, and Conduct Elizabeth Compton said that the festival was a testament to the human desire for togetherness and belonging as people from various backgrounds and cultures attended and gathered for the event. 

“I think it gives students a space to be who they are, to have pride in their culture and to just feel good about who they are even in a country where they might be a minority,” Compton said.  

Participants found themselves traveling throughout the world without ever leaving the school’s gymnasium as booths representing countries like Vietnam, Turkey, El Salvador, Somalia, and the Philippines. 

Ninth grader Azra Biter, who showcased her home country the Republic of Philippines, said it was her first year presenting and having a booth at the Multicultural Festival. “I think it’s important for people to learn about other countries”, Biter said. “Not a lot of people know about the Philippines and I feel it’s an honor being able to talk to them about it.” 

Presenters at booths listed different facts about the country’s and culture such as the languages spoken, traditional food and music, as well as descriptions of the climate and weather. Food, pastries and snacks were offered to participants as a way to further indulge in the country’s culture. 

Aside from students having the opportunity to exhibit artifacts, food and traditions from their country alongside their parents, Frontier teachers were also able to share their own cultures and use it as a way to teach and bond with their students. 

Sophomore Sofia Luna said that she worked along with her teacher, Ms. Bacak, to help showcase her teacher’s country Turkey. 

“This is my first time doing this so at first, I was very nervous but overall it’s just a fun time and I’m having a really good time here. I’ve been learning Turkish since 8th grade so it feels good to learn someone else’s culture,” Luna said. 

Additionally, presenters wore traditional clothing and outfits to showcase the different types of clothing that can be found in their home countries. As part of the entertainment, student performers prepared for their long array of dances or music that they would be performing. 

Junior Jawahir Ibrahim said that although she has known how to dance Dhaanto, a traditional Somali dance, since she was a child, and had rehearsed all week, she continued to be very nervous. 

“I’m performing Dhaanto. It is focused on hand movements that represent camels which are our traditional animals and so the hand movements coordinate with the animals,” Ibrahim said. “This event brings families and parents together that otherwise would be separated by language barriers. It brings everyone together and I think that’s really nice.” 

As community members piled in, staff said that the event was a perfect way for alumni to stay in touch and visit their former school. Assistant Alumni Coordinator Catia Montelongo said that because the event was open to the community, it made it more open for alumni to visit without feeling the awkwardness that may occur if they were to come back on their own. 

“Students and staff are really excited. This is something that you prepare for a long time, especially if you’re doing performances and I know that students wait for this event to show off and highlight their culture. You see people wearing their flags, traditional clothing and it’s really cool to see,” Montelongo said. “We might be a small district but we do have some really big events like the Multicultural Festival, STEM Fest, and they’re always available for the community to get involved in a very cheap or even free way. So I’d just say to come out and enjoy it with your family.”