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Middle School Celebrates Diwali And Diversity Through New Club
Andrew Mouzin

The middle school art space by the main staircase has been extremely festive recently. A new middle school club, the Diversity Coalition, recently celebrated the Hindu, Jains and Sikh holiday Diwali with a display that included a rangoli (an ancient India art form utilizing colored powder) and diyas (Indian clay oil lamps). The display was created with the help of seventh graders Kerav Agarwal and Myna Singh and their parents. Kerav's mother, Sonali, created the rangoli.

The club, started by the middle school counseling office intern Olivia McKelley, will be working on projects, fundraisers and celebrating holidays and traditions. "I was really impressed with the diversity at PHS. As a minority myself, I know what it was like growing up in a school where I didn't look like everyone else, and had different experiences and perspectives on the world and issues in our society/community. It was my hope that students from these differing backgrounds could come together and learn from one another, share their experiences, and celebrate what makes them all unique, valuable and special."

Students in the club invited the division to wear pink, light blue or white for Transgender Day of Remembrance last week. Posters were created to commemorate the holiday and distributed throughout the school. "The students have been so gracious and have had the best attitudes when faced with tasks such as making Papel Picado for Dia de los Muertos, or the lanterns we made for Diwali," Olivia said. "Looking toward the future, I hope to create celebrations for Hanukkah, Black History Month, Holi, Neurodiversity Celebration Week, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and an early Pride month just to name a few. I also look forward to leading meaningful discussions within the club about issues related to diversity, such as how to be an ally; dealing with microaggressions; identifying unconscious bias; and how to encourage our peers to stop using words intended to harm."

"I feel like there is so much to do, but we are only getting started! I can't wait to see what the future holds for PHS and the diversity club."