Middle Division students explore different cultures at the annual International Food Festival

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Middle Division students explore different cultures at the annual International Food Festival

Jeren Wei

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MD students gathered in the atrium this Wednesday to experience the diverse cultures of school at the Middle Division International Food Festival (MDIFF). Co-Chairs of the event Jacqui Weidman P ‘24, Cathy Trentalancia P’ 23, and Nancy Pretsfelder P ‘22 said that the event was a celebratory experience that unified the cultures of the school.

“The International Food Festival is great way to share family history and traditions, and it is something that everyone can enjoy,” Weidman said.
“[Having the students know] that they are global citizens and learn about the cultures and different types of food that are outside of their little realm is important,” Jennifer Hippolyte-Thomas P ’22 said.
The parents brought foods from various cultures. “I brought in Haitian beef patties and we have Jamaican beef patties. We have South African food and Nigerian food,” Hippolyte-Thomas said.
Each section of the event represented different affinity groups of cultures ranging from Korea to Cuba, and each brought a unique food to their table, Pretsfelder said.
Andria Madaio P ‘23 brought plantains to represent her Hispanic heritage. “[Plantains] are almost like potato chips. They are easy to make and are very common foods in Puerto Rico and Cuba,” she said.
The MDIFF is one of the largest events in the Middle Division and represents the diverse community of the school. The event is an opportunity to get to know people through their tradition and culture, and the festival truly is a testament of how diverse the school really is, Trentalancia said.
Many of the middle schoolers enjoyed the various foods of the event. “I especially enjoyed the duck and Chinese section of the event,” Lauren Song (8) said.
There was almost every kind of food you could think of, Song said. “Everything was great. I saw foods I didn’t expect to see like Greek food.
“I really liked the Chinese chicken dumplings,” said Walker McCarthy (8), “I am a very big fan of Asian food, especially Chinese food, and it was nice to find non-Americanized Chinese food.”
Many middle schoolers found also found the experience educational. “It’s nice to see the diverse community at Horace Mann and see how it is expressed beyond just talking about it [in the classroom],” McCarthy said.
As the eighth graders learn about world religions in history class, the event served as a fun reflection of the course curriculum, said McCarthy.
“[The event allowed students] to be exposed to traditional cultures and was a great way to get people interested in other cultures because there is great food and you can talk to people who know a lot about the cultures,” he said.
The school community should all embrace their cultural differences and where the students come from. Even though the community may have its differences, everyone can all enjoy food together, said Song.