HUSD’s Culture Fest celebrates diversity

Formerly known as Posada, Culture Fest 2017 sported several changes by popular demand

Photo by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
A hula dance instructor passes along her island moves to mainland girls.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

Some say we’ve drifted very far from our cultural roots as a society. Others might say that how we’ve evolved over time shows that we are indeed very cultured today. Either way, traditions old and new came together Feb. 3 at the Santa Fe Education Center in Hemet.
This year saw the Culture Fest drop its old name “Posada,” and add several new elements. Each school in the Hemet Unified School District was involved in some way:
Students in the S.A.F.E. after-school program were assigned countries to build piñatas to represent, which were raffled off. Naturally, Brazil’s was a soccer ball and Canada’s a moose.
Little Lake Elementary embraced Scottish folklore by having students fish for Nessie; Winchester Elementary brought in Wheel of Fortune, candy edition; and Ramona Elementary celebrated with a toilet paper toss.

Photo by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
Kids fish for the Loch Ness Monster in Little Lake’s little lake.

Diamond Valley Middle School raised funds by selling ethnic wares, and Hemet High parents sold hot beverages. West Valley students sold pan dulce, while Alessandro students popped popcorn and sold snacks.
Even Hamilton High made the trip from Anza to be there and had football and basketball target practice.
Live entertainment was provided by Hemet High’s Hip Hop Team, San Jacinto’s Folkloric Group, Hemet High Cheerleaders and the Tahquitz High Jazz Band. For those interested, a hula dance instructor was present to teach them the way to sway.
In keeping with the history of the valley, Mexican food was made available for purchase by El Buen Sazón Catering of Hemet.
The changes, according to HUSD Public Information Officer Alexandrea Cass, were made to reflect the community’s changing needs:
“Typically, the event is held before students leave for winter break, because Posada is a tradition in Mexico to celebrate the history of Christmas. After receiving feedback, the event was changed to be held after the winter break and updated to celebrate various cultures of our student population.”

Photo by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
Ramona had this rather curious game for students to play.

Regardless of these changes, one historical note doesn’t change: The fact that the location was at the former campus of Hemet High School makes this historically significant.
Hemet Unified spokesperson Mariela Garcia says the event was designed with families in mind: “What better day than a Friday? We’re not taking away from the weekend-weekend, but it kinda gives it a kick-start.”
Image Source donated gift cards, which were raffled to parents and the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians chipped in for toys to be raffled to students. But the event would not have been possible without support from the Parent Teacher’s Association, English Learner Advisory Committee and Educational Services Department.
Some of us don’t like to see old traditions change. But when a community agrees on making changes, they often turn out for the better as this year’s Culture Fest handily illustrated.

Photo by Corey Evan/The Valley Chronicle
Students in The SAFE after school program made piñatas to represent different countries.

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