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PES Multicultural Celebration a Wonderful Success

Updated: May 31

On Tuesday, May 14th, Princess Elizabeth School (PES) hosted its first Multicultural Night in several years. As a parent of mixed cultural and ethnic background, I was thrilled to see this tradition reignited!


By the time I arrived with my family, the school gymnasium was already bustling with life of all ages. Many people were beautifully adorned in intricate cultural outfits, and the aroma of delicious food filled the air, generously provided by local restaurants and caterers.


Some of the food was on the verge of running out, so we made our way straight to the tables. Among the servers was an enthusiastic group of teachers who looked so happy to be feeding us that you wouldn’t know they’d already put in a full day teaching and managing our children! After attending to the first order of business—filling our plates, I had some time to make a few observations.


Food is a universal language—it bypasses differences and brings neighbours together. Even if we need to balance our plates in mid-air due to lack of tables, we will always find a way to get the food to our mouths where it belongs. Sometimes we all just need a good excuse to eat and talk.

Speaking of universal principles, you can dress up little ones in adorable outfits, but no matter where they’re from, giving them the run of a large gymnasium is an irresistible temptation. They were darting around like holy terrors under our feet, passing adult legs like pylons, oblivious to the food being precariously balanced above their heads.


I noticed that many of the African families have the right idea—dress up the whole family in the same colorful pattern. Not only does the family look incredible, but you can find your kids at a glance in a crowded room.


A big highlight of the evening was the kids' fashion show, organized by the United Colours of Fashion. The kids were all so cute in their various outfits. Even more, it highlighted the individuality of the children—characteristics that transcend cultural boundaries. Some kids did cute little dance moves and smiled. Others bustled right across the stage and without even glancing at the audience. Two boys with particularly skilled dance moves revelled in the applause until their mother, baby on her back, managed to shoo them off the stage while suppressing a laugh. Some of the children were even modeling classic Canadian wear. To me, it promoted the message that you don’t have to be from somewhere else to be proud of where you’re from.


I think the greatest takeaway for me was that children are excited to wear the clothes and share the food that represents their roots. If we teach them from a young age to celebrate who they are and where they come from, they will internalize their own sense of dignity and extend it to others as well. May we live our lives like the children’s fashion show—making room for the shy, the outgoing, those in vibrant outfits, and the kids in the jeans and t-shirts we see every day. Then we can model and instill in our kids this key truth: There’s a place here for everyone.


Well done to the PES staff, volunteers and caterers! Thank you for putting together an excellent, well-organized evening and making it a priority to celebrate the incredible variety of people that make up our school community. Kudos to the families who came out to show their support and enjoy the festivities. I’d love to see this as an annual event.

Community Partners:

  1. New Brunswick Black History Society

  2. Nigerian Canadian Association of New Brunswick

  3. PRUDE Inc.

  4. Saint John Free Public Library

  5. Saint John Jewish History Museum

  6. Saint John Newcomers Association

  7. Ukrainian Association of Saint John

  8. United Colours of Fashion

  9. YMCA of Saint John

Featured Restaurants/Caterers:

  1. LebanOn the Go

  2. Sweet Vanilla

  3. Thai Pho

  4. Taste of Egypt

  5. Varenyky

  6. Zesty Lemon

Picture Credit: Princess Elizabeth School

About the Author:

Dana Stoesz is a mother of two wonderful teenage girls, wife to an incredible military chaplain, computer programmer, and child of God. Dana is a member of the Parent School Support Committee (PSSC) for Princess Elizabeth School. She has a passion to see all children secure in their own identity, kind and respectful toward others, and able to navigate differences with honesty and grace.

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