By Yessica Garcia, AmeriCorps Member, Harvard Pilgrim and Riverstone Co-Sponsored Team,
Serving at Beech Street Elementary School

The different flags displayed in our cafeteria represent some of the seventeen ethnicities embodied by our student population. On April 16th over three hundred students and family members attended a fun filled night commemorated to their cultures. The night was arranged so that the students and families could share a piece of their culture. Families were encouraged to bring a dish for others to try, and students were motivated to dress in their ethnic attire. For many students this is one of the most exciting nights of the year because they get to share a piece of their heritage. 

The night started with performances from individuals from our community. A student from Bring It, an afterschool program City Year supports, shared his love of dancing with the students and families. Two countries were also represented during cultural dances; Africa and Nepal. Our very own, Miss. Hill, presented a lovely song created by the students from 21st Century Musicality Club. To close the out the performance portion of the night, parents who partake in the weekly Zumba class encouraged the audience to get up and dance. During dinner portion of the International Potluck parents shared a variety of cultural dishes with the Beech Street Community, the food looked and smelled delicious. 

Earlier that day some of my students shared their excitement about the food their parents were cooking for the event, and proceeded to tell me about some of the colorful attire they were going to wear and what it meant to them. The night was a tremendous success it felt like several scenes from a movie. All the students were happy, excited, and eager to partake in such a meaningful night. Everyone always talks about a moment during their service where they were reminded of a reason why they serve. The ambience of that night allowed me to reconnect with the purpose of my service.

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