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Midvale Journal

Midvale Middle showcases its diverse student body, embraces differences

Jul 03, 2023 10:16AM ● By Julie Slama

Midvale Middle School’s Latinos In Action take to the stage to perform a salsa dance during the school’s cultural night. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Midvale Middle sixth-grader Marcella Rosales loves to celebrate her culture with others. That’s why the student put on her dancing shoes and dress and took the stage to perform “Viva Venezuela” at her school’s culture night.

“I love to dance and decided I really wanted to be a part of culture night and share my culture,” she said. 

Marcella came to the United States when she was 7 years old and learned English at both Parkside and McMillan elementaries in Murray School District.  

“At first, it was hard to be able to express myself, so I really got into dance as a way to share. This is my favorite song and I learned the dance in a couple weeks. It’s all from my mind; it brings a lot of joy and expression,” she said.

Joining Marcella on stage were other student performances. The student choir sang a traditional Korean folk song; Mercy Bossy, Valeria Navarez and Perety Salle performed a Taualuga dance; Talimoni and Fine Langi, a Sa’Sa dance; Stacy Castaneda, a Wepa dance; Himena Taylor and Ashley Bedolla, a Jasmine Rose dance; Maria Gonzalez, performed “La Llorona;” and Sophia Garcia and Viridianna Rico, a Mexican skirt dance and “Zapadiado.” Rounding out the performances, Viridianna also performed Pate Pate dance, the school’s Latinos In Action presented a salsa dance, and an evening fire dance was the finale.

The evening also included cultural displays, games, crafts, learning dances, stargazing and food trucks with international cuisine.

Parent Jena Major, along with her first-grade daughter and second-grade son, were waiting for her seventh-grade daughter, Sheylee Hernandez, as they were deciding what they were going to eat.

“We like the diversity of cultures and food; there’s churros and tacos, even Swahili food here,” she said.

Dawnette Fortenberry was with her sixth-grade son, Peter, eating some empanadas nearby.

“We came to see a lot of the traditional dances and eat foods from around the world,” said Peter, who regularly attended his grade school’s Living Traditions nights.

His mother appreciated the students’ displays here as she did at East Midvale Elementary.

“We really get to understand more where his classmates have lived and take away a little of that culture,” she said.

That’s why Jhonatan Camacho and Patricia Luevano came with their sixth-grade daughter, Katherine.

“We want to learn about the countries of the children here,” Camacho said. “It’s important that our children know that all these flags on display by the entrance represent a person.”

Midvale Middle School science teacher John Henrichsen was helping at the culture fair.

“It’s fabulous that we have the diversity we have at Midvale Middle School and I love that we have a night to celebrate it,” he said. “I hope that we can take that attitude and not just celebrate it once a year, but always, every day to recognize and to embrace our diversity.” λ