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Celebrating Our Differences: Annual Diversity Fair at Bryan Station creates environment of acceptance


By Tammy L. Lane
Special to KyForward

At Bryan Station High School, the annual Diversity Fair offers a focused opportunity to celebrate differences.

“We have a huge and very diverse population of teachers and students,” said Maria Ayub, who teaches Spanish. “The best way to create acceptance is to get to know the other cultures around us. We may look different, we may talk different. But in the end, we have a lot in common. The more we learn about others, the more we accept.”

This year’s highlights ranged from student presentations on China and Africa, and performances by the hip-hop and dance teams, to a jazz ensemble channeling Miles Davis and a rabbi giving a five-minute explanation of Judaism. Celia Manzano of Madrid, who teaches science in the Spanish Immersion Program, also demonstrated the flamenco.

This year’s highlights ranged from student presentations on China and Africa, and performances by the hip-hop and dance teams, to a jazz ensemble channeling Miles Davis and a rabbi giving a five-minute explanation of Judaism (Photo Provided)

“This is the reality here in the high school. We have students from many cultures in class,” said Manzano, who suggested that mutual respect is the primary goal.

Participants in the fair hailed mostly from language and social studies classes, though the event was open to all. In addition to the performances and presentations, students shared dishes from Mexico, India, China, France, and the Middle East, and they designed posters to illustrate countries’ flags, languages, natural resources, currency, and other elements. Ninth-grader Francine Kapaya and four friends, who spotlighted the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, also dressed in traditional African garb to honor their culture.

“The world is full of different people and languages. Americans need to know about other countries,” said junior Sergio Gutierrez, whose poster featured Russia.

Special education teacher Shatha Shakir has organized the Diversity Fair for about 12 years, during which time participation has grown and attitudes have changed for the better.

“We all are different and come from different backgrounds,” she noted. “Students now understand diversity and appreciate the differences.”

Tammy L. Lane is website editor for Fayette County Public Schools


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