A capacity crowd attended Hello! West Hartford’s successful ‘Fourth Year in Revue’ Monday night, and two West Hartford high school students were honored with theDr. Karen L. List Global Ambassador Award.
By Ronni Newton
Hundreds of people strolled through Hello! West Hartford’s annual “Year in Revue” celebration Monday night in the West Hartford Town Hall auditorium, greeting each other in a variety of languages, sampling foods from around the world, and watching performances that represented the diverse array of cultures that coexist in West Hartford.
“The goal of tonight, make a friend and with parents’ permission, meet up another time soon. Let us know how that friendship blossomed because of tonights culture celebration and begin your conversation with ‘Hello’, ‘Namaste,’ ‘Marhaba,’ or your way! Hello! West Hartford,” organizer Bepsie Perry told the crowd.
Perry also announced the students who are this year’s recipients of the Dr. Karen L. List Global Ambassador Award – named in honor of West Hartford’s former superintendent of schools and given to one student each at Hall and Conard who “promotes or embraces the West Hartford global community.”
This year’s recipients are Conard senior Xuan Huynh, and Hall senior Guillermo Irizarry Lambright.
Perry provided the following information about Huynh: “She has been in the country for three years and has come from Vietnam to West Hartford. She ‘has always wanted to share her country’s traditions and traditions with the world.’ When she came to West Hartford she was introduced to the cultural diversity of friends from China, Brazil, Nepal and other countries. She joined Conard High School’s Multicultural club and has participated in Hello! West Hartford events. Additionally, she has given presentations about Vietnam. Of utmost importance, sharing pride in her country with others has helped her to overcome the English language barrier. Being part of this community has helped her realize that she can encourage others to share their culture and others can learn about hers. Xuan is motivated and knows she is at the beginning of her journey to make a contribution to the West Hartford Community. She will be attending UConn and will pursue nursing in the fall. When asked, her teacher says, ‘Now that Xuan is on her way to college, I would expect her to bring these same qualities of character to her new school. That is, an openness to new places, people, cultures and customs; a keen intelligence, curiosity; and a great ability for dealing with people. Those qualities, combined with her eagerness and determination will enable her to succeed in a new culture while never losing touch with who she is'”
Perry provided the following information about Lambright: He “has many leadership qualities that have reached across cultures and built bridges in Hall High School. He has facilitated two workshops on race and class privilege. He wanted to raise consciousness about the disparities in privilege within our own community and dispel perceptions of race and class at Hall High School. He is constantly amazed by the various vibrant communities whose practices differ from his own Puerto Rican heritage. Yet he finds that West Hartford still has a great divide in the schools and perceptions may preclude celebration and recognition of our diversity. In his work in a class called, Global Problem solving, he found himself devoted to finding ways to mitigate the racial achievement gap. Later this led to him forming the Coalition for Students of Color. One of the goals of the Coalition is to educate peers and teachers about the history and cultures of people of color in the United States, filling in gaps in the mainly Anglo centric historical narrative. This group will present a salsa workshop as an inaugural workshop in which he chronicles the first major cultural example of Black and Latino peoples collaborating in the U.S. He has a clear vision to reach to teach, hip hop, slam poetry and even a workshop on Hartford’s history of Black and Latino activism. In doing this he hopes to promote a better understanding of people of color in the United States and engagement to learning. He is headed to college in the fall and his teachers say that he has a sense of the world beyond his years and they expect he will continue to give as he does, in an unassuming, thoughtful way, that will help friends to find, have and share their voice when they thought no one was listening.”
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