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Hopatcong High School Multicultural Club

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Hopatcong High School’s first Multicultural Club has had its second meeting in which it honored American Indian Heritage month.  November is designated American Indian Heritage Month for the purpose of remembering the value of American Indians. The creation of this day was the culmination of a number of foundational efforts made over time, originally at the request of American Indians, and ultimately made substantial by cooperative efforts of various government officials. This designation was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush following a joint resolution of Congress in 1990. To honor American Indian Heritage Month, the Multicultural Club members made dream catchers and learned the history while listening to American Indian music. 

            This event is just one of the many that the club, with more than 15 members, has on its agenda this year:  honoring girls/boys day in Japan, letter writing, potlucks and much more!  For the month of December, the Club will be writing letters to soldiers.  Ms. Claudia Saavedra, Senior and Founder/President, says, “I remember writing letters to soldiers in my fourth grade class. I thought it would be a nice thing to do since they (the soldiers) can get lonely especially during the holiday season. I contacted my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Catizone at the elementary school, for some help and told her what I wanted to do; she thought it was a wonderful idea. I added my own twist to the letter writing though. Instead of just writing in English, those members that know how to write in a different language will be writing letters in that language.” 

            The club came about last year as Claudia Saavedra and Mrs. Pamela Brennan, English teacher at the high school, begun talking about the variety of cultures at the school and how difficult making a transition from one culture into another must be.  When first approached about the club, Mr. Thomas Vara, Athletic/Events Director stated, “the Multicultural Club is a great way to get a positive message out there” to the student body.

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Claudia Saavedra and Mrs. Brennan decided that maybe having a club that explored cultures may help to show that the more they differ the more they actually are the same.  “When formulating this club, the students and I laid out the goals for the foundation of the club.  We recognized the diversity of the school’s population already, but we wanted to celebrate cultures by recognizing them monthly”, says Mrs. Brennan.  Each month, the club plans on displaying in the library the facts and items made to recognize and honor the different cultural months.  According to Ms. Saavedra, “For the month of November, we (the club) will be displaying the dream catchers made for Native American Heritage Month. In addition, we will be displaying paper lanterns for the festivals Loi Krathrong celebrated on 16th and Yi Peng celebrated on the 17th in Thailand.”  Members hope the club will open minds of more of their peers and stop stereotyping by exposing them to events celebrated by countries from around the world which may be similar to events celebrated in their own home. 

If you would like more information on this topic, or to schedule an interview with Cynthia Randina, Superintendent of Schools, please call JoAnne Murray at 973-398-8801 or email at jmmurray@hopatcongschools.org.

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