ROXBURY, NJ - The Roxbury High School Dining Hall came alive with color, food, performances, spectators and energy recently at the fifth annual Global Hi-5 Multicultural Expo.

More than 400 students, organizations, familie, and community members came out to take part in the festive event.

Roxbury schools staffer Marcia Cordeiro, one of the expo organizers and a parent, said the Expo is a way to “experience the gift of one human race and its multi-sensory cultural diversity."

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Visitors Took Multi-Country 'Tours'

At the event, "tourists" were invited to get their passports stamped while their five senses were tantalized through international expressions of cuisine, music, arts, crafts, costumes, dance performances and more.

In addition to the 16 country displays - filled with artifacts, food, brochures, facts, posters, pictures and musical instruments - there was continuous entertainment taking place by performers.

“Our hope was for attendees to gain awareness of our community’s multicultural identity that makes us one," said Cordeiro. "Our community needs to be inclusive of all people, regardless of our differences. Events like these help create stepping stones to bridge the gaps between cultures. Reaching out to all parts of the community and involving people on a regular basis allows us to foster good communication with each other.”

This collaborative event is organized by the Roxbury School District staff, students, parents and community members. Roxbury Schools participating organizations included the Eisenhower Middle School and Roxbury High School Spanish Clubs, French Club, RoxTHON, Roxbury’s Robotics Program and Roxbotix Team. These organizations are run by advisors and student members.

Countries on display, along with those that represented them, were:

  • Argentina – Michelle Danielson and family
  • Chile – Christina Buck from Boonton Schools
  • Colombia – Marilyn Romero, Martinez Family, Noches De Columbia, and EMS Spanish Club
  • Costa Rica – Henry, Lourdes, Sophie and David Navarro
  • Cypress – Flora Frangoudis and Eleni Boyadjis
  • Dominican Republic – Monica Marcano and family
  • Ecuador – Marcia Cordeiro, Marcia and Peggy Galván, Maria Alarcón, and the EMS Spanish Club
  • Geometry – Maryann Paschal Brinkley
  • Greece – Fotinis Family and Friends
  • Italy – Danielle Faroldi, Amanda DeCraine and the EMS students
  • Mexico –Riviera Maya and the EMS Spanish Club
  • Norway – Sons of Norway – Nor Bu Lodge (Norwegian waffles)
  • Perú – Nelly Ratto
  • Polonia – Behrens Family, Blakut Family, EMS Staff: Robert Capra, Shawn Smith, and Daniel Pojedinec
  • Spain – Maria Jose Navarro, RHS Spanish Club and Anthony Sessa, EMS Spanish Club
  • United States – Roxbury Boy Scout Troop 188

Performances this year included:

  • Spanish Guitars performed by Wilson Galvan and Gustavo Romero
  • German/Swiss/Polka on the Accordion performed by Russ Koch
  • Dream Dance Studios
  • Los Mariachis performed by Angeles de Puebla
  • Les Feuilles Mortes performed by Danielle Doherty
  • Los Choleros performed by Sierra y Oriente Ecuatoriano

Other participating organizations and businesses included:

  • Dreams Dance Studio
  • Noches De Colombia Restaurant
  • Riviera Maya Restaurant
  • Roxbury Boy Scouts Troop #188
  • Red Bulls – Brandon Medina & Marco Matute

“It was great to see and experience the local cultures of the school district," Coriero said. "The students and our neighbors in Roxbury shared languages, cultures, food and dance all to raise awareness and for us to demonstrate to our young people how important it is to recognize the cultures we all come from.”