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The Student News Site of Concord-Carlisle Regional High School

The Voice

Concord-Carlisle High School's Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Concord-Carlisle Regional High School

The Voice

Concord-Carlisle High School's Student Newspaper

CCHS Multicultural Food Fest: A Celebration of Diversity and Heritage

CCHS+Multicultural+Food+Fest%3A+A+Celebration+of+Diversity+and+Heritage

Note: A version of this article will be published in the March 31 issue of the Concord Bridge.

“All omelettes should be Spanish omelettes,” declared Sarah Annunziata (‘24), holding up her tray filled with an assortment of appetizing foods. After a two-year disruption due to COVID, the Multicultural Food Fest at Concord-Carlisle High School made its much-anticipated return on the evening of Wednesday, March 15. The event was hosted by Class Government and made successful by the collective efforts of the entire CCHS community—students, families, and faculty. Mr. Ray Pavlik, the faculty advisor for the event, estimated that over seven hundred people attended the Fest, with nearly fifty countries and cultures represented through the dishes of more than eighty families and staff and a dozen local restaurants.

The CCHS cafeteria was filled with students’ tangible excitement to display their culture and to explore that of their peers. (Besides, who can resist free food?) Tables lined all four sides of the cafeteria, exhibiting countless delicacies from all corners of the world, be it Latin American tres leches cake, Caribbean pholourie, or Japanese onigiri, just to name a few. Some recipes were reminiscent of countries from which members of the community had immigrated; others had been passed down through generations of familial pride. Many community members wore stunning traditional outfits as well. The tables were adorned with vibrant posters, flags, and decorations celebrating the history and cultural background of each dish and its corresponding country. The evening closed with three cultural performances by CCHS students: Noah Zall (‘24) and Benjamin Pixley (‘25) sang in Latin, Stella Kaplowitz (‘25) performed songs in Spanish and Italian, and the Chamber Orchestra played arrangements of various cultural pieces.

While many students were captivated by the immense diversity of dishes offered (“There are so many things I haven’t tried and they’re all delicious!” Rebecca Finizio, ‘24, expressed excitedly), others embraced the comforts of home (according to Michelle Gu, ‘24, “The best thing I ate was my mom’s scallion pancakes!”). But the shared sentiment was undoubtedly awe and appreciation. “It’s really beautiful; I like it when humanity comes together,” said Mariana Cadavid (‘25). She explained, “It’s like the whole world is in this room.”

The dedicated CCHS parent community was also eager to contribute their efforts to ensure the event’s success. Parent volunteers warmly promoted their cooking, sharing traditions central to their families. Mahreen Hoda, parent of Nafeesa Hoda (‘25), described that although she had done multicultural fairs in Carlisle before, this was her first time participating in the food fest. “I love the energy,” Hoda continued. She noted how nice it was to see “kids, parents, even some grandparents” enjoying the event together, because “anything multicultural is something that brings us all together,” especially food. Hoda added, “I thought we brought a lot of food, but we were done in half an hour!” Gretchen Hedlund (‘25) also mentioned that at her table, “We ran out of onigiri only thirty minutes in!” When asked how she felt, she smiled: “Proud!”

CCHS faculty members shared foods from their own heritage as well. Mr. Clark Whitney, a science teacher, brought a pot of fragrant Ukrainian borscht soup. He described, “It’s a wonderful opportunity to see my students in a completely different light” where they have a chance to “share a piece of them and their culture” that may be less highlighted in class.

At the event, the CCHS Green Team also promoted sustainability and responsibility for our shared Earth. They provided compostable trays and utensils, encouraging everyone to properly dispose of food waste. Ms. Priscilla Guiney, the club’s faculty advisor, explained that the club was “excited to make a statement” at this year’s event “to not have these amazing nutrients go into the landfill and produce so much greenhouse gases… and instead have it be picked up by Black Earth [a compost organization] so it’s incorporated back into the soil [to sequester] carbon.”

Behind the scenes, members of CCHS Class Government, led by students Isatu Fofanah (‘23), Faith Clark (‘24), and Lilly Soillis (‘24), worked diligently to host the event. Lilly Soillis, Class Government’s Secretary, expressed that she had missed the Fest during COVID’s interruption because she loves how the event “brings together so many different cultures.” She said, “You could meet somebody of your culture that you had no idea also went to this school,” something she’s experienced herself. On organizing and running the event, Soillis admits that “it’s a lot of work” because so much communication is involved. Despite the effort, she described that seeing “all these people… oohing and ahhing over everybody’s different foods” made her feel gratified, and she concluded that the event “shows how important community is to a town and a school.”

The atmosphere throughout the Multicultural Food Fest was invigorating and inspiring as the entire CCHS community came together to celebrate the flavors, textures, and colors of the community’s diverse heritage. It was a moment of recognizing and reminding ourselves that the shared appreciation and centrality of food throughout cultures is one of the most beautiful and intimate forms of connection.

Left: Elizabeth Lear (‘24) and world language teacher Ms. Holly Haycock display chocolate mice in reference to the Roman delicacy of doormice. Photo by Felicity Zhang. Right: Faith Clark (‘24) and Maura Clark. Photo courtesy of CCHS Class Government.

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Felicity Zhang, Junior Co-Editor-In-Chief
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