Spain Park High School celebrates World Heritage Week

Published 10:27 am Wednesday, October 26, 2022

By NOAH WORTHAM | Staff Writer

HOOVER – Students at Spain Park High School celebrated their heritage and shared it with other students during World Heritage Week.

World Heritage Week was celebrated from Monday, Oct. 17 to Friday, Oct. 21 and featured activities for students to participate in that promoted cultural awareness and global citizenship.

“World Heritage week, for me, is an opportunity for us to celebrate diversity within our community and for students of all cultures to feel recognized,” Spanish teacher Rebecca Suarez said, “to learn that they are part of a larger world community and to encourage global citizenship.

Throughout the week, students had the opportunity to hear from other students in the school about their families’ heritage and what it means to them. They were able to learn how to say hello in various languages, and some students said the Pledge of Allegiance in their heart language, Suarez said.

Spain Park High School’s new principal also shared her thoughts on the celebration.

“I say that each week, that I feel like I have a new favorite thing about Spain Park High School, and I think that World Heritage Week (is) one of the things that might stick as a definite favorite because it’s such a representation of all the amazing things and all the amazing students that we have here at Spain Park,” Dr. Amanda Esslinger said. “Yesterday we had dances from Nigeria and today they brought in Germany, and all of those different cultures that are represented by our students who are learning about themselves and then also learning about others.”

The SPHS art department contributed several pieces of art to celebrate the week.

Two officers of the Culture Appreciation Club shared their perspective on the event.

“World Heritage Week is an important opportunity for me because, as an international student, I get to share my culture with friends and teachers and express myself and celebrate away from home,” said Maya Bowen, a senior and officer of the Culture Appreciation Club at SPHS.

There were 62 flags in the library to represent students and faculty with heritage from those countries.

“Everybody has something that’s special to them,” CAC officer and junior Zainab Derkaoui said. “We may have these differences, but at the same time within each culture there are similarities that we want to show off. We want to show each other that, yes, on the outside everything may be different, but on the inside, there’s a lot of things that bring us together.”

On Wednesday, Oct. 19 from 1:20-2 p.m. students met in the library to hear a selection of performances.

First was the Life Skills Drum Circle Class who played to the song “Wavering Flag” by Somalian artist K’naan. Dance Class students performed traditional dances from Bavaria, Vietnam and West Africa. Following the dance performances, two students performed a dramatic interpretation of two poems by Joy Harjo, former U.S. Poet Laureate. The performances in the library concluded with two South African songs in Zulu performed by the school’s combined choirs and show choir.

“I think things went really well,” Derkaoui said. “It was really amazing how everyone came together for that week, and how we planned everything.”