MSSD Launches New Monthly Awareness Events
The students of the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) Diversity Club are putting their motto of "We recognize, respect, and cherish" into action this year with a series of Awareness Month events.
"We started this year with Hispanic Heritage Month," said Tanea Brown, president of the student Diversity Club. "We wanted to recognize the growing Hispanic population in our country. We want to promote understanding between people from different cultures."
MSSD's Office of Student Activities, in collaboration with Gallaudet University's Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and the Office of Diversity and Equity for Students, will coordinate such monthly events as guest presentations, food tastings, ethnic performances, movies, documentaries, and ending with an international festival.
The Hispanic Heritage Awareness Month events featured the countries of Puerto Rico, Argentina, and Costa Rica. The students enjoyed an array of activities, from guest presenters from cultural organizations, to tasting sample dishes from the countries, to making piñatas and cooking Besitos de Coco (coconut kisses); to trying out Latin dance steps.
"The United States is a unique mosaic of cultures," said Judy Stout, Clerc Center student enhancement educator who helps coordinate the monthly events. "This diversity is what we recognize, respect, and cherish at the Clerc Center because we share far more similarities than not. Unfortunately, we often allow our attitudes, motions, misinformation, misconceptions, and fear to take a hold of the best of us."
Throughout the year, MSSD students will learn about the history, cultures, and traditions of different religious and ethnic groups through fun and educational activities. Classroom teachers are encouraged to integrate the monthly themes into their classroom lesson plans and activities. The event organizers provide teachers with information links to resources they can use.
"As we experience the Multicultural Calendar of Events, we hope to remove the filters that have clouded our vision and see the world more clearly," said Stout.
During November, the students will explore the lives and cultures of some of the 500 Native American tribes.