PIQUA — Students at Piqua Central Intermediate (PCIS) and their families were invited to partake in an evening of international delights during the school’s 2018-19 diversity night event, titled “Celebration of Nations.”
The event was funded by a $1,000 grant from Awesome Piqua, a chapter of the Awesome Foundation. Funds provided complimentary meals, door prizes, and entertainment for those in attendance.
Cuisine included spaghetti provided by the school, donations from El Herradero Mexican Grill and China East, and Indian snacks provided by volunteer Soha Shah.
“We’re trying to promote cultural diversity and inclusivity,” said instructor and event coordinator Veronica Gaier. “Piqua City Schools is moving to this idea that no matter where you’re from or what your background is, we’d love to have you in our community. This kind of event exposes our students and local families to cultures form around the world.
“We also do it at this level because our fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students are learning about geography, reading maps,” Gaier said. “This kind of event allows them to connect what they’re learning.”
Six members of pre-professional dance ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC2) were present to perform a variety of international dance stylings for those in attendance.
“These dancers are comprised of graduates and undergraduates that are pursuing a professional career in dance,” said Shonna Hickman-Matlock, director of education and outreach services with DCDC2. “It’s part of our mission to bring arts programming into our schools and the community. Ms. Gaier told us Piqua was having a diversity program that she’d love for us to be part of. In our organization, we use different cultural dances such as African dances, salsa, and Russian stylings.”
Based upon attendance and positive reception, the staff at PCIS hope to continue hosting similar diversity-oriented events in future school years.
“I’m so proud of our staff and everybody pulling together to bring the community in,” said Principal Josh Kauffman. “Events like this expose our town, which doesn’t have a lot of diversity, to all that’s out there. It’s a great event for our kids.”
“I would love if this became something we’re known for,” Gaier said. “Being from another country and being accepted so well, it’s important to me for our students to become aware and welcoming and feel the same feelings I’ve felt wherever we go. Our differences make us one big family.”