A celebration of our diversity

Apr 9, 2018 by

WAKEFIELD students learned how to dance the Flamenco on stage in the Galvin Middle School auditorium during Friday’s International Night. The event, hosted by the METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) program and Wakefield’s public schools, drew hundreds of people from the community. (Gail Lowe Photo)

Published in the April 9, 2018 edition.

By GAIL LOWE

WAKEFIELD — On Friday night, April 6, the Galvin Middle School cafeteria was turned into Wakefield’s version of Disney’s EPCOT for the fourth annual International Night 2018. Those who walked through the school’s front door were immediately surrounded by the wonderful aromas of garlic, turmeric, cumin, chili pepper, cilantro, ginger and other flavorful herbs and spices from around the world.

International Night got under way at 6 p.m. when diverse cultures met under one roof to showcase food from Morocco, Haiti, Syria, Spain, Nigeria, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Cape Verde, Barbados, Venezuela, Bulgaria, Guinea Conakry and the Dominican Republic. To add to the festivities, representatives from each country wore authentic costumes while serving food, and dance and martial arts performances were held in the auditorium.

Hosted by the METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) program and Wakefield’s public schools, the event drew hundreds of people from the community.

“This is the best attendance we’ve had yet,” said Wakefield Memorial High School Principal Rich Metropolis.

METCO Director and Spanish teacher Joel Villegas gave credit to WEF (Wakefield Education Foundation) for their support. “Without WEF we would not have had such wonderful performances,” he said.

Now in its 48th year in Wakefield, METCO is a non-profit organization that helps ease racial isolation in the Boston and Springfield area schools. METCO was founded in Boston in 1966 to help cope with lingering school segregation and today serves about 3,300 students. The program, which began in Arlington, Newton, Wellesley, Lexington, Brookline, Braintree and Lincoln, now services 40 communities

METCO is funded by the state through a grant program as well as by individual communities. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education crafts policy for the program in partnership with an Advisory Committee made up largely of superintendents, administrators and parents.

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