Families celebrate diversity at Multicultural Game Night

Newly-formed Multicultural Student Alliance takes part in event for first time
Children scramble to collect candy from the piñata as it falls to the ground at Multicultural Game Night.
Children scramble to collect candy from the piñata as it falls to the ground at Multicultural Game Night.
Staff Photo by Lea Vonn Hilgers

When students, parents, and faculty came through the door of the Upper School (US) Community Room during the annual Multicultural Parent Alliance Family Game Night on September 29, they were asked to scratch the plastic off the region on a world map which represented their ancestral or current homeland. Soon, the map was filled with colors.

The evening, just like the map, was intended to showcase the diverse origins of members of the Upper School community, organizers said. Games and food from a variety of cultures aided in achieving this objective.

This year was the first time in the event’s history that it was organized not only by the Multicultural Parent Alliance (MPA), and the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Global Education (DEIG) Office, but by the newly- formed Multicultural Student Alliance (MSA), which is a space for first and second generation American students. It acts as a counterpart to the MPA.

MSA Co-President Rania Mankodi ’25 said, “The parents were really excited that there was going to be a club in the Upper School and thought it would be really nice to meet us.”

Throughout the night, as they engaged in a series of games from multiple different cultures, guests shared stories of their cultural heritage. Family members discussed their family’s immigration stories and reflected on the importance of being acquainted with one’s culture.

Rania said celebrating diversity was the event’s objective.

“This is a space where we can acknowledge all different cultures and honor all the places that make us special. It’s just a way for parents to connect with each other in the BB&N community because a lot of multicultural people are immigrants.”

One of the games offered, Spanish bingo, was designed to transcend language barriers and encourage interactions among participants, Rania said. Organizers called out the names of animals, household objects, and school supplies in Spanish, while participants were charged with finding the object’s picture on their boards. Spanish speakers aided those who did not speak the language.

Organizers spent time finding games that would effectively introduce guests to different cultures, Rania said.

“There was a lot of ways it was very individualized.”

A variety of culinary dishes from different cultures, including dumplings and French pastries, were served at the event. Even American desserts were offered—a reminder that all the guests were united by the fact that they were American, Rania said.

“There was quite a variety of food from a bunch of different cultures, including American, which I think is also important because we are all here celebrating the fact that we’re American and part of another few cultures as well,” Rania said. “And I think that was just kind of a way for everyone to feel like every part of themselves is being celebrated and identified, which is really nice.”

A piñata was among the most popular of the games for the younger attendees. As the pinata fell to the ground, releasing a shower of colorful confetti, students swarmed it, scavenging for candy. DEIG Practitioner Maria Graciela Alcid described the spectacle as a “feeding frenzy.”

Hale McGivern ’25 said the event revolved around inclusivity.

“It was a mixture of many cultures and personalities.”

MSA Co-President Lena Ishii ’25 said it is important to unite individuals from various corners of the school community.

“Seeing the community, from the Lower School to parents, come together has been so fun.”

MPA Leader Jane Shih said she thought the event was a success, especially because the families in attendance hailed from many different cultures. She appreciated the families for their willingness to share their cultural backgrounds and stories.

“I am super impressed with the variety of families who came and who were so happy to share their culture and their story. The differences that we talk a lot about in society, as separating people, tonight, that separation was broken. We celebrated together, and [I’m] super appreciative of the high school for joining us as well.”

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