LEONIA, N.J.–Forty-five different countries were represented in a "mini-Epcot Center" that included food, music and artifacts, during a "We Are All Americans" diversity celebration Friday at Leonia High School.
"This is a day to highlight the English-Language Learner (ELL) student population, a way of celebrating differences instead of isolating students," LHS English teacher Elaine Scott told Daily Voice. "It helps them feel more part of the mainstream."
Scott is adviser to the school's Multicultural Club, which organized the event, attended by the entire student population throughout the school day.
The Leonia Academy for Hospitality and the Culinary Arts assisted with the food presentation. The cost for sampling – with Asian, Greek, Italian and more cuisine represented – was $3 per plate, with all proceeds going to charity.
Students also staged a talent show that included the LHS Jazz Band, senior Mattyar Alborzi, a member of the Select National Chorus, playing an acoustic guitar solo and seniors Christie Nakajima and Esther Lee performing a dance routine.
Veterans from the Korean, Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars spoke to the students about their experiences, patriotism and the "American Way," Scott said.
"The day is important because it demonstrates how our students, although very diverse, get along with each other," said Principal Dr. Edward Bertolini.