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Multicultural day at Shelter Island School a vibrant success

The Shelter Island School hosted its first annual multicultural day on Tuesday, June 11, with students and families sharing their traditions and foods with each other and guests in the field behind the school.

Students and their families hosted tables for Ireland, Colombia, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Morocco, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy, Guatemala and Costa Rica. The Celtic heritage was represented by a bagpiper, who opened the event with a rendition of “America the Beautiful.”

A bagpiper, representing Celtic culture, opened the ceremony with ‘America the Beautiful.’ (Credit: Jackson Rohrer)

Superintendent Brian C. Doelger, Ed.D. welcomed everyone with remarks that hearkened back to his tenure as a social studies teacher, stressing the relevance of the phrase “E Pluribus Unum” — out of many, one.

He spoke of his grandparents and great-grandparents (one of whom had the first liquor license in Brooklyn, he said), who’d immigrated from Ireland and Germany, and the American tradition of “all immigrants melding into one culture.”

Assimilating waves of immigrants, he said, has made America a great country — “the greatest country in the world.”

The event, which was organized by Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Rylott, included a storytelling corner with children’s books in different languages, and soccer games for grades K-5 and 6-8.

Native costumes, dolls and crafts made a colorful display. The most popular activity was tasting foods such as banana torom from the Philippines; Moroccan hummus and meatballs with Harissa sauce; flautos and hibiscus tea from Mexico, and much more.

Students brought the passport to be stamped as they sampled a variety of cultures at the event tables. (Credit: Susan Carey) Dempsey)

Students each picked up a passport, then visited tables representing different cultures to get them stamped, while tasting treats and learning more about each country and culture. On a bright, sunny day, it offered an excursion around the world within the grassy fields of Shelter Island School.