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Many Cultures One Kirkwood Festival Celebrates Cultural Diversity in Kirkwood

On Friday, April 28, the Kirkwood School District hosted the third annual “Many Cultures One Kirkwood” event.


The expo-style event featured KSD families from countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Honduras, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Spain, Syria, and the United Kingdom. 


The event kicked off with the “Parade of Nations,” which featured student participants as they carried the flag of their family’s native country through the expo. The students all came to the stage and were announced the crowd.


After the parade, students joined their families at their respective country's tables. Each table featured items such as informational displays, food, instruments, and photos. Attendees, including students, families, and community members, were provided with a passport and invited to visit and learn about the various cultures represented at each table. During their visit to the table, the attendee's passport was stamped. 


The Cabrera family, including Tillman third-grade student Sebastian, KHS senior Diego, and parents Gayl and Alexander, hosted a table for their native Spain. The family moved to America three years ago from Barcelona when Alexander’s job was relocated to St. Louis. The family hosted an informational table, including a skillet of seafood paella, a classic Spanish rice dish made with rice, saffron, vegetables, chicken, and seafood cooked and served in one pan. Sebastian enjoyed the event and shared one of his favorite Spanish dishes with attendees. “This is so fun!” said Sebastian. “I love being able to share my favorite food, and to also learn about other countries and taste their food.”


Performers included the Tillman Pepper Steppers, the St. Nicholas Greek Dancers, and  Carnaval Tlaxcala STL Senyelistli Matlalcu.


This immersive cultural experience embraces the “Iceberg Culture Model,” which provides attendees the opportunity to look below the surface of cultural components such as music, language, food, and flags and provides the opportunity to also dig deeper and learn about customs, morals, traditions, and beliefs. The event originated in 2020 and was the idea of the KSD English Second Language teachers as an opportunity for the families they support to share their culture with their peers. This year’s event planners were ESL teachers Amy Randles, Azniv Tcherkezian, and Gina Muller and supported by volunteers from throughout Kirkwood Schools and the KSD Community Relations and Development Office. The event received funding thanks to the support of the Kirkwood School District Foundation.