Middle College High School students will celebrate a medley of cultures through food and dance during its annual Culture Day event in the Amphitheatre on Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
The event was originally created and organized by MCHS social sciences teacher Christine Nyanda Chacha, but after being diagnosed with cancer, she turned over the event to MCHS teacher Edward Ballou.
Chacha died March 31 in South Africa.
“When she had medical problems, it was my job to take over,” Ballou said.
MCHS students will perform dances from different cultures and serve a variety of ethnic foods at the event.
MCHS is a high school on the Contra Costa College campus that provides regular high school classes and gives its students the opportunity to take college courses.
Each year, the sophomore class organizes Culture Day and holds auditions for students from other grades to participate in its performances.
Ballou said most of the performances are by students of different ethnicities than the culture they are presenting.
Among the assortment of food will be enchiladas, spaghetti, empanadas and lumpia.
The event is free to the public and everyone is encouraged to attend, he said.
MCHS sophomore class President Lisa Marie Tabuyo will perform a cultural Filipino dance involving two large bamboo sticks and a drum called a tinikling.
Tabuyo said the dance tells a story.
“(The bamboo sticks) are like 10 feet long,” Ballou said. “It’s based off of a bird trying to avoid being trapped.”
Sophomores Cynthia Ezeokoli and Opal Franklin and junior Aurora Ford will be performing a Jamaican dance, wearing skirts and beads.
“It’s really provocative,” Ezeokoli said. “There’s going to be a lot of booty poppin’.”
Ford said, “Basically, I’m happy that we’re doing it because I don’t think other cultures besides Asian and Hispanic are showcased enough.”
Sophomore Grace Belan will be featured in the show singing a Korean song. Belan is of Filipino descent and is bi-racial.
“Even though I am not of Korean descent, I am really fascinated with Korean culture, which is why I want to show that I can sing in Korean,” she said.
Sophomores Jessica Shankle and Nitan Kumar will be swing dancing. Shankle said, “Swing is the best part of American culture.”