The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Dawson Organizes Diversity Lunch and Assembly

The Diversity Lunch and Assembly took place on Thursday, April 5 and Friday, April 6, respectively.

Though the Diversity Assembly is now an annual event, organized by Assistant Principal Cristy Dawson 10 years ago, it used to be hosted by English teacher Joanne Miyahara. Miyahara could no longer organize the Diversity Assembly once she had her children about eight years ago. For a period of time, the school’s diversity was not openly showcased and celebrated.

Then, five years ago, one of Dawson’s seniors came to her and asked her to do a Diversity Assembly so that he could show off his Polish dance as part of his Senior Project.

“I suckered for him and announced to the school if you wanted to share your culture or who you are, to come and try out,” Dawson said. “It was great.”

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This year’s Diversity Assembly was marked with numerous instrumental and singing performances, cultural dances such as the hula and LSU’s tropical dance, as well as poem recitations and presentations. Along with these performances were the Steppers and amazing acrobatics from a world class jump roping team, including freshman Adele Rosenthal. The thunderous roar of applause after every performance displayed the students’ support of the performers.

“The assembly was absolutely over the moon with talent,” Dawson said. “We had a lot of kids that were just incredible.”

Hard work went into the performances as well. LSU dancers have practiced two hours every Wednesday since September for this assembly.

“We’ve been doing it for three years, and this is the first as choreographers,” senior Gabriela Contreras said. “I feel extremely proud, because we accomplished this huge assembly, and it feels really good to feel that everything was worth it.”

Though perfecting the dance took great time and effort, the performance was not done without good reason.

“We want to show people our culture—that we’re not just Mexican, we’re from all over South America,” Gabriela said. “This assembly is important, because I feel like there are a lot of different cultures at this school, and this is the one assembly that lets them show their culture.”

Dawson agrees with this sentiment.

“I think diversity is absolutely fascinating,“Dawson said. “Seeing someone play the erhu or the santoor gives you a window into their culture, and this school is just full of a really diverse population. It is very exciting to see different groups come out and do stuff… it’s very important to recognize that we’re not all the same and to honor those old instruments and dances.”

But even for such an important assembly, there are challenges.

“My frustration with this assembly is that I don’t always know who’s going to be there,” Dawson said. “It’s not like a regular show where you have a few dress rehearsals and you get to perfect it. We just do the best we can with one rehearsal.”

However, despite the frustration and the amount of energy needed to organize such a large event, Dawson still views the Diversity Assembly in a positive light.

“I love this assembly,” Dawson said. “I would say, as a whole, it’s the most popular assembly we do.”

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