Starting a New Tradition


Top row, left to right: **, junior Jay Wray, junior Kathy Jia, sophomore Joelle Kernosh, junior Nia Smith, senior Sarah Brifo, senior Santia Saintine, freshman Evelyn Escamilla-Gomez and junior George Gomez. Bottom row, left to right: Junior Arina Garifullina, sophomore Sneha Indrakanti, sophomore Elizabeth Conaway and senior Joanne Lee. Third row: senior Mahdia Ahmed.

This Saturday, Hatboro-Horsham held its first multicultural carnival at the stadium. #bestdayever is how we marketed the event on social media, and honestly, it really was the best day ever. 

The idea for a culture fair was something I brought up to head principal Mr. Williams during the first semester of my sophomore year. The 2020 Jewish Student Union president Emily Schwartz and I started to send out emails to our affinity clubs, but the idea disappeared when the pandemic began. 

Then this year, one day, junior and current secretary of Key Club Seth Cooper and I were talking in the hallway about how other high schools in the area like Wissahickon and Upper Dublin were doing carnivals. I commented that I wished we could have a carnival of our own, and Seth said, “Why can’t we?” So he proposed the idea to our adviser at the time, Mrs. Rapone.

Junior Seth Cooper and senior Mahdia Ahmed serving food at the Carnival.

 Mrs. Rapone instantly fell in love with the idea, and after filling in the other Key Club officers, we brought the concept to Mr. Williams in early October. Mr. Williams suggested that we combine the culture fair idea with the carnival, and thus after six months of hard work, was the first ever HH Multi-Cultural Carnival. 

We could not have accomplished this feat without the help of all the affinity groups who came out to the event. Black Student Union, Latin American Student Organization, Hindu Students Association, Muslim Student Cultural Association, Gay-Straight Alliance, Asian Student Association, Jewish Student Union, Foreign Language Club and Students for Social Justice  all had a table at the event. Each table had a food item and an interactive element. Falafel at the MSCA table and henna at the HSA table were definitely favorites. 

Ambler Kiwanis Club president Gene McGonigle is why we were also able to have the famous Teacher Dunk Tank, an obstacle course, a jousting ring and a basketball inflatable. The little ones especially loved dunking all the teachers, but teachers like Mr. Leddy, Mr. Enge and our own newspaper adviser Mrs. English-Murphy were not the happiest after coming out of the dunk tank freezing in the windy weather.

School board vice president Mrs. Jennifer Wilson at the dunk tank.

In addition, we had a great selection of carnival games and backyard games. Some were borrowed from Hallowell and Simmons Elementary schools, but others like the Skeeball were made by some of our outstanding Carnival Games committee members like sophomore Katherine Schaffer. 

By far, though, I was most proud of the fashion show. It was definitely tough to get everyone on board with this idea and find models, but this was something I had wanted to do for so long, and at the end of the day, everyone came together, and it was such a success. All of the models did amazing and junior Katherine Jia did such a great job writing the script. The best part was seeing how excited the little kids were when they went up to ask questions to the models. This is exactly what the intended purpose of the event was. We wanted to create an event where families could come and have fun and walk away with this newfound knowledge and interest in inclusivity and diversity. 

Nonetheless, we did have many adversities along the way. Because this was our first event, we had to do everything from scratch, and we also did not have an adviser in the building at all times, which made coordination and communication difficult sometimes. Personally, I was also fasting (no food or water) during the entire month of April, including the day of the event, which made me very tired. And even on the day of the event, we had one food truck cancel, and the Velcro Wall we ordered did not come in. 

Seeing all those smiling faces and happy families really made everyone’s day at the end of the day. I am so honored to have organized this event this year as the Key Club President because I personally learned so many life lessons from this experience, and I hope that in the future years, the underclassmen can carry on this idea so that the Multi-Cultural Carnival becomes a new HH tradition that lasts for many years to come.