The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

Multicultural Week celebrates diversity and cultural pride

All+the+student+participants+of+the+Multicultural+Assembly.+Photo+by+Casey+O%E2%80%99Flaherty
All the student participants of the Multicultural Assembly. Photo by Casey O’Flaherty

Hosted by five Bellarmine affinity groups, Multicultural Week is a series of lively campus events uplifting the community’s diversity. Created by affinity club leaders in 2021, Multicultural Week includes three main events: the Food and Culture Fair, the Multicultural Night, and an all-school Multicultural Assembly featuring a fan-favorite cultural fashion show. In all the major events, students are afforded the opportunity to unite through their differences, making the week a beloved tradition since its inception.

Regarding student involvement, DEI Director and Black Student Union advisor, Barbara Henderson, said, “For the affinity group participants, it’s a chance for them to share their identities and their culture with the entire student body.” Henderson’s statement rang true for many students during Multicultural Week 2024 in March who experienced the countless gifts the event has to offer. 

At the Food and Culture Fair, people flooded the gym to visit student-made posters and food samples which reflected different cultural backgrounds. One student organizer of the event, Ogechi Nkem, spoke of her first impression of Multicultural Week as an underclassperson: “Seeing all of the presentations of culture…I was able to feel really seen and included.” Now, as a junior, she expressed, “I want [that feeling] to be a part of Bellarmine, and I want to bring that to Bellarmine through my leadership.” Representing her Nigerian culture as a freshman was a special experience that Nkem said she wants to pass on to the younger generation of lions. This sentiment embodies the opportunity for leadership and self-empowerment that Multicultural Week poses to the community.

Nadia Kohles represents Chile during the Assembly Fashion Show! Photo by Casey O’Flaherty

Following the Food and Culture Fair, Multicultural Night hosted participants and guests in the Campus Center for a joyous night of food and performances. Volunteers brought in dishes from their countries, and performers showcased exciting dances from around the world. Alfonzo Amaranto, a sophomore performer in the Filipino Tinikling dance, deemed the Night a personal favorite, because it opened his eyes to “the importance of everyone’s cultures.” Amaranto expressed that Multicultural Week helped him to fully embrace the other cultures that make Bellarmine unique. Food and dances from African, Asian, and Latin American groups contributed to a night that left many with a deeper appreciation and respect for their fellow cultures and community members.

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Closing out the week, the Multicultural Assembly consisted of eight cultural performances and fifteen different countries represented in the beloved Fashion Show. Garnering over fifty student participants, the assembly was an undeniable success. Freshman Jayden Gicharu represented Kenya through a Swahili prayer, dance, and the fashion show. He spoke about the personal impact the week had on him, saying “Getting to do the dance with the other Kenyans, it made me feel like I was back home…[being a representative] really resonated with me.” The week allowed him and countless others to bring their full selves to campus, which Gicharu said allowed him to see his peers for who they really are. 

Multicultural Week aims to go beyond cultural education by emphasizing the communal strength that comes from deeper understanding and uplifting diversity. When asked about his main takeaway from Multicultural Week, APICA advisor, Aires Patulot, said, “It is so vitally important that everyone is seen…it totally enriches our entire community.” According to Patulot’s fellow advisor, Henderson, a recent study stated that 93% of Bellarmine students feel connected to a peer, which she assessed as an important indication that students of color feel more connected to each other. This is a promising manifestation of the primary goal of Multicultural Week: bringing the student body together through celebration and appreciation — not only during this event, but throughout the years to come. 

Kenyan students pose during the Fashion Show. Photo by Casey O’Flaherty

About the Contributor
Margeaux Liloc, Reporter

Margeaux Liloc is thrilled to be joining the Lion Journalism Staff in her junior year at Bellarmine. She hopes to use Journalism as a way to give back and connect to the Bellarmine community, in addition to her involvement in clubs like APICA, Model UN, and FASA. Outside of school, you can find Margeaux spending time with friends and family, listening to music, or practicing with the Girls Golf team.