John Hay Elementary School

      News from the John Hay Partners


By: John Hay Partners | April 04, 2019

"Michael" in Hindi

Wow, what an event!  I just want to take a moment to reflect as a school on the event and to give special thanks to some members of our staff who worked hard to make this event a success. 


I believe the daytime additions this year enhanced the message and experience for every student, regardless of their attendance at night.  These additions included the assembly and performance, the whole school songs (Mr. Payne), the art walk (from Ms. Warburton activities all year long), and the book readings (Ms. Schooler in PCP).  The nighttime experience was similar to last year, although with more booths (32 instead of 22), more attendees (300 instead of 200), and more performances (3 instead of 1).  We also added the stamp component, making it more interactive for students (Next year, we’ll add incentives to the stamps).  

Our families thoroughly enjoyed the event, they were proud to share their cultures, and they enjoyed learning about other cultures.  I had one conversation with a father at his family’s booth.  I asked him how it was going and I reflected to him that I felt this event was not checking a box to say that we did our multi-culture night to be pc.  He responded by saying that this event felt “genuinely authentic and community driven”.  This comment made me feel as though the event was a success.  Our families enjoyed this community celebration, and I believe that as a result, they feel more connected to John Hay, which was our goal. 


I’d like to give special thanks to Ms. Williamson who led the planning of this daytime and evening event.  Without her work and vision, this event would not have been possible. I’d also like to thank the rest of the planning committee, including Ms. Mulu, Ms. Schooler, Ms. Warburton, Ms. Kaiser, and Mr. Payne.  I would also like to give a special thanks to Ms. Khanh and Ms. Laura for their ongoing coordination with the families who planned the 32 booths. 


This was our 2nd year doing the event and I believe we will continue to enhance this event and experience next year so that every child and community member can share together in our multi-cultural community and can take away the important message that we are unified as defined by both our differences and our similarities.  In this way, we are training students and community members to be more tolerant and appreciative of our diverse and wonderful backgrounds.  A special message from this year’s celebration came from the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe celebration when we learned about their culture, but also when we learned that their ancestors have been on John Hay Elementary land for 12,000 years.  




Michael Berkenwald 

Assistant Principal

John Hay Elementary School

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