Virtual assembly highlights diversity, core values

Barlow says he hopes event expanded people’s perceptions

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Mr. Ken Barlow ’82 made comments at the beginning of the virtual multicultural assembly.

Ava Amos, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Many changes have been made this year in order to accommodate to Covid guidelines, with one of those changes involving the annual multicultural assembly, which took place Nov. 16 during the last Mission Monday of the fall semester. 

The coordinator and vice president for community relations and diversity, Mr. Ken Barlow ‘82, provided some insight into what it is, why it’s held every year and what differences were made in order to provide a safe environment. “The organizational part is different, but the concept is still the same. It was very challenging to try to bring everyone together just because of Covid,” Barlow said. 

The goal of the assembly, he said, is to highlight the varying cultures and backgrounds on the Hill  that people might not be aware of. Barlow said, “The purpose of it each year is to shed light first and foremost on the diversity and varying cultures that we have here at Cathedral High School. So in the process, we not only celebrate them, but we welcome them to also share with us something about themselves that’s uniquely different,” Barlow said. 

He added that he feels the idea is to help the school grow in terms of multiculturalism and the understanding of it. “I think it’s very helpful to everyone, particularly those we are highlighting. It helps different cultures feel welcomed and valued here at Cathedral High School, but I think also for people who are unaware of any particular thing that we showcase during our multicultural assembly. I think it’s an educational piece as well,” he said.

It helps different cultures feel welcomed and valued here at Cathedral High School. ”

— Mr. Ken Barlow '82

The assembly featured different students and educators sharing their backgrounds and ethnicities as well as music from many different cultures in between segments, “I let (students) share who they were, and then I had to go out and find external stimuli. The music that we’re showcasing this year is not particularly Cathedral students, but I hope that the audience (got) to see that it mirrors our community,” Barlow said.

He also said that typically Embrace Club members facilitate and plan the format for the assembly. Club president senior Whitley Walton said, “I thought the assembly was done really well. Even though we couldn’t meet in person, it was so nice to see the diversity of Cathedral exemplified with students and staff sharing their heritage with us, as well as the different videos that showed America is full of many ethnicities, but we are tied together by our history and our democracy.” 

In the end, Barlow said he hopes that the assembly was perceived as well as it has been in the past and it helped open people’s perceptions to how diverse the school really is.

Barlow said, “Hopefully we continue to provoke people to say ‘Wow, Cathedral really is a multicultural community.’ That’s what we always try to do anyway so we can say that we’re trying to stay true to our Holy Cross core values of inclusivity and diversity, and we can see it very clearly. I hope that’s evident.”