The week of April 15 was Diversity Week at TPHS: a time for students to recognize the unique cultures on campus, including a student body from more than 60 countries who speak over 40 home languages, according to the TPHS Multilingual Learner Program’s website. 

Throughout the week, a number of activities focused on the range of student demographics with the intention of promoting cross-cultural respect, according to Rosie Kim (12), the co-president of the International Friends Club.

Some of the main activities of the week included a performance by the TPHS Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán Club on Monday and a diversity-themed student connection time on Wednesday.

Students walk by and view posters displayed by 23 multi-cultural clubs on campus on April 18. Diversity Week activities were many weeks in the making by ASB and club presidents. Photo by Nadia Fadlu-Deen/Falconer

Behind the scenes, ASB Diversity Equity and Inclusion commissioners Brandon Hamadeh (11) and Adi Adatiya (9) and ASB President Camille Samarasinghe (12) worked to plan the week’s schedule.

“I think it’s a huge piece of creating a welcoming school culture that values the diverse interests and backgrounds of our kids,” TPHS Principal Rob Coppo said. “It is a great example of the ‘We are TP’ spirit”

Kim echoed this sentiment.

“There are so many different people from so many different areas, and I think we all should be recognized and known in terms of how to respect our cultures and beliefs,” Kim said.

This year, the International Friends Club was featured in a Falcon Vision interview and participated in the Diversity Fair on Thursday, where 23 clubs shared their cultures with their peers.

“It was fun and interesting to let other people know about our club and how many different cultures there are at TPHS,” Kim said. “It was a feeling of validation of how hard everyone from different cultures, with different backgrounds worked so hard to learn an entire new language and be able to fit in and try new stuff while still keeping themselves from their roots and honoring their traditions and beliefs.”

While her main role was as an organizer this year, Samarsinghe also felt connected as a Sri Lankan American and appreciated the chance to connect with students from her roots.

“I think it was so important because it gave everyone on campus a small glimpse into how diverse and how unique each student is at Torrey Pines,” Samarasinghe said. “I think it helped people understand all of the different things that are unique to each culture.”

As students were able to take the week to immerse themselves in the TPHS community, the work of the students who made the event possible did not go unnoticed.

“I’m just really proud of the work that the kids have done. And it’s extremely soul-satisfying to see their excitement to pull off Diversity Week,” Coppo said. “This is something that used to be controversial and now it’s just part of what we do, and that’s really exciting.”

Despite this year’s Diversity Week coming to an end on April 19, students on campus continue to echo the importance of understanding one another.

“Overall, I think it is important as the school is filled with people [from] all over the world, and it made us feel like we were appreciated and we belong here,” Kim said. 

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