Laughs, dancing and earth awareness filled the Amphitheatre on Saturday afternoon during the Middle College High School Family Festival and Earth Day celebration.
The second annual event hosted by MCHS was held in order to help fundraise Middle College National Consortium (MCNC), a leadership group from MCHS that will be taking a trip to Carson, Calif. for a nationwide MCNC conference from April 18-22.
“This event is all about promoting diversity and bringing the community together,” MCHS student Aurora Ford said. “We’re trying to raise money to be able to attend the conference. With all the budget cuts it is hard to get money from the school.”
MCNC is a program that develops and promotes student voices within the community. Each year, selected students from across the nation take part in an eight-month project dealing with an environmental or social justice issue.
Students then use social media outlets to discuss and build programs that educate their schools and communities in focused social action. Students capture their success in presentations, which they share at a four-day conference. Students visit with local experts, get exposure to a new environment and engage in academic discourse with peers they have met online.
“This year our project is diversity so we wanted to celebrate that with this event,” MCHS English teacher and leadership adviser Katherine Williams said. “What we learned during our project is that there is not only diversity in people but the earth as well, so we tried to tie in everything together by having an Earth Day and a Family Festival.”
The event attracted roughly 200 people of all ages. Various booths were set up around the Amphitheatre, promoting different aspects of earth awareness, such as recycling, health care and preserving energy.
In these booths students and children were able to gain information on various aspects and learn what they could do to help their communities.
“What we are trying to do is reduce greenhouse gases and promote programs to help reduce energy,” environmental program analyst for the city of San Pablo Karinah Samkian said. “A lot of students seemed interested in what we are about and it’s great to see their enthusiasm.”
Brookside Health Service outreach member Andres Abarra said the organization came out to the event to let the community know it offers free health care.
“A lot of college students don’t have health care since they are usually not on their parents’ plan, so we are letting them know that it is good to have access to medical care.”
MCHS students held booths selling food and plants to those who donated money.
“We want to present people across the nation of what we deal with in our community,” MCHS student Elleanor Pangilinan said. “Instead of holding a private event, we’re opening up to everyone in the community.”
MCHS students also held several performances for the event, such as cultural dances, singing and rapping, live instruments and musical chairs.
“The event turned out pretty good. It’s nice to see a mix of people of all ages come out and celebrate,” Williams said. “(MCHS) wanted to give back to the community, faculty and students. It also relieves the kids from their studies to be able to have fun.”