Embracing Diversity: Cultural Night Returns to Museum School


Nihan Lobo

Cultural Night in the Gym. Featuring (from top, l.-r.): Food at the Chinese table, Zara Leung and Ella Veith hosting the Greek table, a guitar performance by Gavin Swaby, Alison Chen, Nicole Chan, and Zachary Semple at the Japanese table, Nathaniel Botu at the West African table, and a dance performance by representatives of the Dominican Republic

Hao Gillooly and Nihan Lobo

NYC Museum School hosted its third annual Cultural Night Friday, June 2. Throughout the event, students showcased their cultural heritage through displays of food and decoration for fellow students and parents in exchange for community service hours. Many students chose to represent cultures other than their own, such as junior Briana Quinones of the Polish table. “I chose to do this to support my friend in representing her culture,” said Quinones.

Sophomore Johnathon Cano, who worked to represent Mexico, explained, “I wanted to represent Mexico this way because I really like my culture, I really like the way the food is, the way we talk, our music, all of it. I just love it and I want people to experience it.” 

While decorating his table, Cano decided to feature candy “because it represents [his] culture. A lot of people love the sourness, the sweetness…and the soda, a lot of people love the soda.”

Sophomore Nathaniel Botu chose to run cultural night because he “really like[s] the idea of everyone coming together and showing all the culture, all the ethnicities, and showing people what they’re about.” 

When asked about the highlight of the event, Botu said, “Seeing all my friends or at least seeing people trying out new things…I’ve never seen this amount of people showing all their cultures.” 

For next year’s Cultural Night, Botu explained, “I’d like to see more tables to see more cultures because some of my friends—I don’t really know about their ethnicity or race or nationality.”

Yet what does this say about Museum as a whole? According to Botu, “[This] really just shows how diverse [the school is, with] all these kinds of people, all these kinds of food, all these types of culture…it’s really great.”

However, despite representing Jamaica, Botu is not from the country. “My mom is from Guinea and my dad is from Nigeria and the rest [of my family] is Jamaican, so I decided that I could make it all in one picture,” said Botu.

Assistant Principal Viteri said that Cultural Night shows that Museum School is an “intersection of identities that are represented…I still think it has room to grow.” For the following year, Viteri explained that he would love to see “more participation, different identities…different places being represented…I want it to be bigger.” 

The actual event lasted around an hour and a half before crowds started to disperse. Mr. Rodrigues was in high spirits, and stated that the event  “…is always a success when you get to celebrate the cultural mosaic that is NYC Museum School. Next year it will only get better. I’m so grateful for the students and staff members involved in the planning. Special thanks to Ms Sagonas.”