Multicultural Night is beautiful mosaic
SARANAC LAKE – Dozens of students and parents learned about each other’s cultures and ate food from around the world at Petrova Elementary School’s Multicultural Night Thursday.
This was the third year in a row students participated in the Multicultural Night. Teachers and organizers Temnit Muldowney and Jesse Jakobe said they started the event to expose young students to different backgrounds and ways of life.
“It started about three years ago, and we were just wanting to have an event to draw more people from the community and celebrate the diversity of Saranac Lake,” Jakobe said. “Sometimes people think Saranac Lake is very homogeneous and not very diverse, but it truly is a melting pot.”
Jakobe is originally from Vermont, and her family comes from Scotland, Wales and England. Muldowney is originally from Eritrea, which used to be part of Ethiopia in Africa. She moved to the U.S. with her family when she was a baby.
“I think what’s great is that the students walk into this gym, and they’re able to see all the different cultures, religions and races that make up our small community,” Muldowney said. “I think sometimes they don’t realize how much diversity is in this small town.”
Each student is tasked with creating a poster board that highlights a country they find interesting or from which their family comes.
Peyton Smith chose Northern Ireland for her project. She came dressed in green everything – shirt, skirt, beads, glasses and a headband – all of it was green. Behind her sat a little stuffed leprechaun doll, mischievous sprites of Celtic folklore. Her poster described Northern Ireland’s many farms, coastal areas and castles. One piece of text said, “The Titanic was built in Belfast.” Another said, “They drive on the left.”
Retired teacher Diane Peterson worked with a group of students of Chinese heritage on a poster about China. Next to their display, they had foods such as sesame chicken, dumplings, cantaloupe and fried noodles.
Lyanne Cadore’s family comes from Grenada, the Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela. For her project, she offered sugar-coated mango and had people smell a spicy mound of nutmeg. Grenada is the second-largest producer of the spice. On her poster, she had a photo of her father holding a mona monkey, a small brown, black and white primate with a long tail.
“I’ve never been to Grenada, but I plan to go when I’m older,” Cadore said.