Diversity Celebrated at Finley

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Eighth-grade ELA and social studies teachers at Robert M. Finley Middle School recently organized a day of cultural sharing entitled Diversity Day. Held in the school’s Mini Center, the event served as a culmination to the students’ studies on immigration. The gathering included presentations research projects as well as a feast of foods from different countries around the world.

ELA students read a compilation of short stories taken from the book “New Kids in Town” by Janet Bode, which explored experiences that teenage immigrants faced while coming to America and the difficulty they had assimilating into American culture. Students created cultural diversity dolls (pictured) that resembled themselves and each student wrote a small narrative that discussed their cultural background and how it has shaped them as a person.

In social studies classes, students studied immigration in America during the late 1800s early 1900s. In preparation for Diversity Day, they created projects that reflect the diverse groups of immigrants who came to America seeking refuge, prosperity, and new beginnings. Honors students even created journal/scrapbooks in which they wrote from the perspective of an immigrant entering the country during this era (also pictured is Jared Venegas displaying his journal with social studies teacher Meredith Murolo). In the journals, they covered all aspects of the immigrant experience, including photos and memorabilia they designed themselves. Regents classes created two character profiles; one from an immigrant in the book “New Kids in Town” and another from the era studied.

“Being that our school is very diverse, we wanted to host a Diversity Day so that our students could celebrate the culmination of the unit as well as all the wonderful cultures that surround us,” said English teacher Claudia Marra, one of the coordinators of the event who also prepared a dish of chicken cutlet parmigiana for the feast. “What better way to open our students' minds as well as their palates?”