Community Schools Celebrate Diversity

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With all the snow and ice New York City has seen in the past few months, an evening celebrating the warmer climates is always welcome. This year’s African-American & Dominican Heritage Festival at the Salomé Ureña de Henríquez Campus, a Children's Aid Society Community School in Washington Heights, celebrated carnivals from Brazil, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Mali, South Africa, Guinea and the United States’ own Mardi Gras—a theme fit to represent the diverse communities served by Children’s Aid services and programs.

Students, parents and staff from six Children’s Aid Society community schools in Washington Heights and East Harlem celebrated their heritage on Friday, February 18th, with a variety of foods prepared by staff and parents, costumes and colorful performances. Tables representing each country greeted visitors with displays of photos, maps and artwork. The Michael Dease Jazz Group played Mardi Gras tunes while guests sampled Sancocho, a traditional soup from the Dominican Republic and Bolinho de Bacalhau, a Brazilian appetizer made of cod fish. To close out the evening, over 100 students, ages 5-18, showcased a variety of musical performances inspired by the Carnivals of each country. The audience, packed to the max as always, could not hide their pride and joy as the cheers could easily be heard out on 196th street and Broadway.

Click here to view more photos from the 2011 African American & Dominican Heritage Festival!