- Ryan Kiernan ’21 & Finn Roblin ’21
Cultural diversity is an important aspect of SHP. As stated in the criteria of Goal 4, the school fosters “a safe and welcoming environment in which each person is valued, cared for, and respected,” an example being the various yearly celebrations which take place to recognize traditions beyond Catholicism.
The Equity, Justice, and Multicultural Education (EJME) program, whose goal is to support and educate students about the myriad of cultures and perspectives that make up the Sacred Heart campus, pioneers the initiatives that students see on a yearly basis. The EJME office offers several services, programs, and workshops for students, parents, faculty, and staff at SHS and for the outside community. Indeed, an essential goal of the program beyond cultural diversity is to invite, retain, and support students from a variety of backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexual orientation, learning styles, and religions.
Focusing specifically on cultural diversity, the Diwali celebration which took place on October 22nd brought the entire “community together… to expose [students] to some of the traditions that we follow during Diwali,” explains Mrs. Aperna Bhardwaj, an organizer of the event and SHP parent. Anyone can benefit from the cultural education and festivities which the event provides. It “brings the SHS community closer together since it’s a collaborative effort between parents, faculty, and many of the students,” says Mrs. Bhardwaj. When asked about diversity in general, Sameer Dewan ‘21 said, “Intellectual diversity is [an] important type of diversity,” stressing the importance of different viewpoints inside of the classroom. Discussions and seminars integrated into the school day, particularly in English and History classes, allow students to be exposed to the differing viewpoints and backgrounds of their peers.
Outside of the classroom, programs like PUMA (People United for Multicultural Awareness) and IRIS (LGBTQ+ and Allies) create a more diverse campus that welcomes all students and opens their eyes to experiences that they previously might have not known about. SHP works to marry these programs with classes that students can take. For example, “we had a bunch of students in Ms Peggy O’Leary’s art class help with the rangoli decorations [for Diwali] outside the new Campbell Center,” explains Mrs. Bhardwaj.
Attending cultural events, learning about diversity at SHP, and being curious about other people’s experiences are three steps that students can take as the school year progresses to receive a holistic education that goes beyond the traditional, and sometimes single-minded, academic experience inside of the classroom.