On Saturday, January 26 we had our annual Cultural Day celebration here at Groton. Groton Cultural Day is an event during which students have the opportunity to represent their cultural backgrounds or learn about those of others. Each student cultural group set up a table in the Forum, and was given a budget provided by the Student Activities Committee to purchase food items and decorations. There were around two dozen tables, representing Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, China, South Korea, France, Brazil, and many other cultural identities from around the world.
I personally helped organise the British table. We had various snacks, ranging from scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam to chocolate digestive biscuits and Jammy Dodgers (two popular cookies in the UK). We decorated our table with a flag and streamers, and asked students and faculty who visited our table to guess at trivia questions about the Spice Girls, the London Underground, and Queen Elizabeth. There was also catered Indian and Chinese food, which was delicious.
One of the main events was a concert of student performances. Neha ’20 and Yumin ’20 presented a Bollywood dance routine, Ben ’22 played the piano and sang two beautiful Filipino love songs, and Isabel ’21 and Elbereth ’21 played on traditional Chinese instruments. Lastly, Gil ’20, Lwazi ’20, Zenande ’21, and I performed gumboot dancing, a dance that traditionally is done wearing rubber boots. Gumboot dancing is a percussive dance style, performed without music. It originated in the gold mines of South Africa in the late 19th century as a method of communication for the miners — they would often receive strict punishment for talking. Gumboot later developed into a dance done for entertainment purposes, and is an iconic part of South African culture.
It was amazing to be able to bring two parts of my cultural identity—British and South African—to Groton. As the year goes on and Prize Day draws closer, I have been thinking about the things I will miss about Groton. Cultural Day is just one example of the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, and that is definitely something I admire and will miss about life on the Circle.