Your Time: Family Cultural Night at Jackson Street School, Northampton

  • Jonathan Bermeo, 10, of Northampton, left, reacts while reading Romina Pacheco's display about Venezuela Feb. 3, 2017 during Jackson Street School's Family Cultural Night at the Northampton school. Bermeo is wearing Ecuadorian dress. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Asha Orelus-Pacheco, 7, of Northampton, representing Venezuela, at left, and Sylvia Clauson, 7, of Northampton, representing Kenya, at right, participate in a fashion show Feb. 3, 2017 during Jackson Street School's Family Cultural Night at the Northampton school. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Bushra Asha, 10, of Northampton, speaks to visitors about life in Jordan Feb. 3, 2017 during Jackson Street School's Family Cultural Night at the Northampton school. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Dhyuthi Belur, 5, of Northampton, performs an Indian dance Feb. 3, 2017 during Jackson Street School's Family Cultural Night at the Northampton school. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Regine Spector of Florence, left, assists her daughter Amelia Durbin, 8, in serving sushi at a booth representing Japan Feb. 3, 2017 during Jackson Street School's Family Cultural Night at the Northampton school. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • 1. Zoe Saalfield, Kaya Saalfield 2. Lila Nields-Duffy 3. Jonathan Bermeo 4. Dhyuthi Belur 5. Regine Spector, Amelia Durbin 6. Bushra AshaCover: Asha Orelus-Pachec, Sylvia Clauson 1. Zoe Saalfield, Kaya Saalfield 2. Lila Nields-Duffy 3. Jonathan Bermeo 4. Dhyuthi Belur 5. Regine Spector, Amelia Durbin 6. Bushra AshaCover: Asha Orelus-Pachec, Sylvia Clauson

  • Lila Nields-Duffy, 10, of Northampton reads a display about life in Jordan Feb. 3, 2017 during Jackson Street School's Family Cultural Night at the Northampton school. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

Published: 2/9/2017 3:33:41 PM

With a beaming smile and flowers in her hair, 7-year-old Asha Orelus-Pacheco greeted classmates from all over the world.

Children from 32 countries and their families gathered Friday evening for the first-ever Family Cultural Night at Jackson Street School in Northampton.

“I like learning about people,” said Orelus-Pacheco, twirling in her traditional Venezuelan skirt.

The families mingled into the night, sharing food, language and history from their home countries.

“It’s wonderful to see so many cultures represented in our community,” said parent Regine Spector of Florence, who served Japanese sushi to guests with her daughter, Amelia Durbin, 8.

Lisa Clauson and Rose Boulay, both parents with prior involvement in cultural celebrations, came up with the idea to celebrate the school’s diversity.

“It’s beautiful to come together in this kind of way, particularly given the political climate nationally,” said Clauson.

Principal Gwen Agna called the evening “fabulous.”

Affirming kids in who they are does much to further education, she said.

“When you feel safe and honored, you’re very much more open to learning,” said Agna.

Donations were collected to benefit the Center for New Americans.

Sarah Crosby can be reached at scrosby@gazettenet.com.




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