Culture Day Allows for Roosevelt Students to Celebrate the Heritage Around Them


Leah Kamara and Chelsey Zou in their cultural wear. Courtesy of Mark Mitchell

Mark Mitchell

Culture day is a much loved part of Spirit week, during which students dress up in cultural wear to show pride in their history.  Students of Eleanor Roosevelt can often be seen sporting anything from a flag of their country of origin, to full outfits that represent and honor their culture and history.  This year it occurred on Tuesday, October 18th

Students who participated saw Culture Day as a day of self expression.  Alem Adams, Vice President of “The Pond”,  says that, “Culture day is a wonderful way to celebrate what is important to you and your culture”.  Esong Ayompe, a member of DRB, says that it, “is a day to share my culture with my friends”.  Both of these students participated in culture day directly, with Alem wearing a traditional Puerto rican festival outfit, and Esong sporting an outfit from his home Country Cameroon.  

Students who did not participate, or did not participate as heavily as others, still find heavy value in the day.  Conrad Pagulyan, a member of ASA, stated, “I think that culture day is very important and it’s really interesting seeing everyone’s traditional clothing”.  For Zuri Lancaster, a member of the American Sign Language club, culture day is for “people to be proud to show off their culture to their peers and teachers.”  

Culture day is not just about self expression, but also about appreciating the expression of others.  An interaction that occurred during an interview highlighted this truth.  

When Zuri was asked for her favorite piece of cultural wear she saw a student in, she turned, and asked her classmate, Lyba, for the name of what she was wearing.  Lyba said that it was a Kurti, and Zuri thanked her, and went on to describe it as being beautiful, with the, “prettiest shades of green and pink”.  Zuri, through appreciating the culture of her friend, learned more about that culture.  

While Zuri does not own any Nigerian clothing to dress in, she still gained a sense of connection and belonging from culture day.  She said that, “even though I have no real cultural Nigerian wear, I learned a lot about what it looks like from seeing my Nigerian peers on culture day”.  By observing people’s cultures, and being open to learn and appreciate, Zuri learned more about her own culture, while connecting with another’s.  That is what culture day is.  Not just a day to express your own culture, but also to learn about and appreciate others’.  

Culture day allows students to embrace a culturally rich and diverse world, seeing the true beauty of expression and history within Roosevelt’s student body. 


Esongkou Ayompe in his cultural attire from Cameroon. Courtesy of Mark Mitchell