Culture Day continues to develop at Carver Nation

Culture Day continues to develop at Carver Nation The post Culture Day continues to develop at Carver Nation appeared first on WS Chronicle.

Culture Day continues to develop at Carver Nation

By Felecia Piggott-Long, Ph.D.

“Funga, Alafiya – Ashey! Ashey!” “Funga Alafiya – Ashey! Ashey!”  Carver’s Culture Day 2023 opened with the welcome song “Funga ‘’ written by Baba Olatunji and led by Baba Joseph Anderson of The Healing Force storytelling and musical troupe and the Carver Chorus and Drama Club. They marched and played African instruments as they sang. Anderson and the troupe recorded the KiSwahili welcome song more than ten years ago, but the rhythm still resonates in a variety of cultural settings.

One of the highlights of the program was the Decade Fashion Show that the fashion merchandising class brought to the stage. The students offered a visual display of American fashion trends of the 1920s to 2023. Each decade of fashion featured appropriate music so each model could move to the beat.

The Culture Day is an interdisciplinary collaboration that was held in the school auditorium and media center on Thursday, May 18. Last year’s Culture Day was hosted by the world history department, but this year Pamela Hall’s world history honors students collaborated with media specialist Ashley Martin, art teacher Deborah Cummings, chorus and band director Juan Eckard, fashion merchandising teacher Kimberly Zanders-Scales, and myself. Students from all these departments also worked together to organize Cultural Day. Hall was pleased with the outcome of this unified effort.

“The event was successful because it allowed participants to celebrate creative expression, both individually and collectively, while also learning something new about themselves and subcultures from previous decades,” said Hall. “ Events that were  featured, such as a welcome song like the “Funga” song, a fashion show, an art gallery, a culture project showcase, and a culture quilt provided a diversity of experiences for the participants.”

The purpose of the Cultural Fair “is to promote awareness of different aspects of traditional and popular cultures and subcultures which are spreading through globalization,” said Hall. Some of these aspects include food customs, clothing designs, traditions, television shows, dances, hair styles, types of music, and much more.

Another highlight of the program was the poetry reading. Indya Alderman, Abigail Hodges, and Leah Raiford read poems from the Poet Laureate contest.

Leah Raiford enjoyed participating in the Culture Day. “It opened my eyes to different places around the world and gave me insight to some of the ways people around the world live their lives,” Raiford said.

Ashlynn Cuthbertson learned an important lesson during Culture Day. “What I learned is that you can do anything you put your mind to. I had the opportunity to see different fashions from the past up until now,” Ashlynn said.

Several quilt makers evolved during the months they worked on stitching a cultural quilt. Some of the blocks of fabric were reproductions of Civil War textiles, and other blocks celebrated cultural icons such as Betty Boop, Batgirl, Wonder Woman, the Green Bay Packers, Carolina, Pop Tarts and Nestle’s Crunch. 

I was impressed with the work of the students. Males and females enjoyed sewing the blooks into the culture quilt. Some of them worked on the quilt during lunch, after school or during class after completing their assignments, They were very committed to completing this task. Several students wrote wonderful quilt stories from the four blocks that they connected with.

The quilt makers sewed the blocks together completely by hand. The quilt designers included Alexis Rodriguez-Avila, Barbara Alvarez, Samantha Davis, Tymaria Cherry,  Azlyn Finney-Kapuy, Carlos Garcia, A’niya Hall,  LaTasha Ivey, Aminata Mall, Juliana Perez, Alonzo Smith, Jon-Patrick Switzer, Jonathan Zuniga Vargas, and James Wheeler. Ten students won monetary prizes for their quilt stories: Ismael Villalba Cisneros, Axcel Cortez, Samantha Davis, Starasia David, Taalib-Din Grier II, Carlos Garcia, Juliana Perez-Garcia, Nayeli Mendez, Anthony Pinkney, Kendreon Simpson-Imes, and Xander Reynolds.

Senior Anthony Pinckney enjoyed working with his friends on the quilt. “When I was in the sixth grade, I was in a class called Life Management. We used the sewing machine,” Pinkney said. “Making the quilt was more hands-on because we used our hands to sew rather than the sewing machine. It was a good experience.”

“I had a good time at the Cultural Day. I had a good experience, and I look forward to doing it again next year,” said Kathryn Kimbrough.

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