Students prepare for Oct. 15 multicultural assembly

Barlow notes what students add to the event

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Students prepare for Oct. 15 multicultural assembly

Mr. Ken Barlow '82 and a group of students have put in many hours preparing for the annual multicultural assembly.

Mr. Ken Barlow '82 and a group of students have put in many hours preparing for the annual multicultural assembly.

Will Browning

Mr. Ken Barlow '82 and a group of students have put in many hours preparing for the annual multicultural assembly.

Will Browning

Will Browning

Mr. Ken Barlow '82 and a group of students have put in many hours preparing for the annual multicultural assembly.

Jackson Hern, Reporter

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Inclusiveness and diversity.

As one of the Holy Cross core values, that phrase is found all across campus: in classrooms, in the hallways, even in the gym. Day in and day out, those small messages remind us that to be Catholic is to be universal; all of us are made in the image of God, and a Holy Cross school makes every attempt to be enriched by God’s many gifts. 

On Oct. 15, the school will celebrate its annual multicultural assembly. Mr. Ken Barlow ‘82, vice president for community relations and diversity, has been gearing up for this year’s assembly. He has worked behind the scenes, piecing together the program and pulling together an event that he believes will be both impactful and empowering for the student body. 

“We want to showcase the multiculturalism that we have here at Cathedral. I think sometimes it may go unnoticed if we don’t have opportunities like these to have multicultural assemblies. What I’ve found over the years is it’s quite amazing that we actually have so many ethnic cultures represented at Cathedral High School,” Barlow said.

For many students, this assembly provides an opportunity to be educated on cultures that they weren’t even aware were represented at Cathedral. Barlow said, “I like every year what students bring to the table to help educate Cathedral on a couple topics that maybe they’ve never even thought about.” 

In the past, the multicultural assembly has spotlighted hosts of speakers and presentations; this year is shaping up to be every bit as intriguing. 

“It’s going to be similar, a similar format to years past, with a few different faces and cultures showcased. I try to include students, alumni, faculty and parents, too, in the lineup to give some different perspectives,” Barlow said. 

For students and faculty alike, this assembly provides an opportunity to learn more about the lives of their peers and how their differences in culture can be celebrated. “Giving students the opportunity explain it in greater detail from their perspective I think is a good thing,” said Barlow. Listening to different perspectives and life stories can be eye-opening for many people, he suggested.  

One aspect of educational side of the multicultural assembly serves a practical purpose. “We also want to break down any stereotypes or biases that people may have about any particular culture that they might not know, so that’s a small part of it as well,” Barlow said. Although the school goes to great lengths to ensure that students, faculty and staff foster an inclusive and diverse environment, the multicultural assembly provides an intimate way for students to come to terms with any personal prejudices or uninformed biases. 

As the date approaches, the work rate increases even more, as Barlow coordinates with the students who will be involved in this year’s program. 

Without giving away any names or surprises, Barlow spoke highly of this year’s student speakers. “I’m always excited when students start talking about their culture. There are a few student speakers this year, and I think both of them have some unique stories to share, so I’m excited about that,” he said. 

Even the results are evident, Barlow knows as well as anyone that getting up in front of the whole school to speak can be quite intimidating for just about anyone. “Sometimes it’s a challenge for students, even if they have very interesting and educational things to share. It’s still intimidating to talk about it in front of everybody,” he said. 

The multicultural assembly isn’t simply an annual check mark; rather, it is the result of weeks and weeks of work and preparation that culminate in a time for the entire school to gather. As Barlow testified, this assembly is something to look forward to. 

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