Written by: Mikayla Perez, Grade 11, St. Mary’s High School

During St. Mary’s High School’s Culture & Diversity Week, which began on April 14, 2024, students showcased their traditional cultural attire in a dynamic Cultural Fashion Show held in the school’s cafeteria on April 19. The event featured students from various grades and cultural backgrounds, each bringing a piece of their heritage to the stage.

Grade 11 student Oluwademilade (Israel) Dosekun, representing Nigeria, wore an Agbada, a traditional Yoruba male attire. He expressed his motivations: “I wanted to showcase a little about myself and just be a little more confident; I wanted to showcase my culture, and I just thought my outfit was really cool.”

Paolo Manese, a Grade 12 student representing the Philippines, donned a Barong Tagalog. He said, “I want the people in this school to learn a little more about the Philippines by showing off our culture through this outfit. I think showcasing this traditional attire can help students develop a good impression of the Philippines.”

The show, which took place during the lunch periods, was well-received by the students. Grade 12 student Naomi Weldetensae remarked, “It was really nice seeing all the pretty cultural outfits on the stage. I enjoyed the show because I got to learn a little more about other cultures, and the performance itself was really entertaining.”

The week-long event was initiated by the school’s Student Activity Council, which also introduced other culturally inclusive activities, such as multilingual morning prayers and a culturally diverse menu in their Eagle Eats Meal Program.

Despite the positive feedback, Student Activity Council Director Mia O’Connor voiced concerns about student engagement. She stated, “Student engagement is actually something I’m struggling with. … I’d like there to be more opportunities, especially for newcomers. … It’s kinda hard to decide what’s gonna be the best route to make sure that all students are engaged because sometimes the [council] plans things that may be good for their group but maybe not for other groups, so I definitely think that’s something that our student council needs to work on.”

Looking ahead, O’Connor added, “It’s nice to have a week, but it’d be a lot nicer to have these things integrated throughout the year.”


This article is part of the WCDSB Jr. Journalist program, a new initiative designed to provide journalistically inclined secondary students with a platform to share stories from their school and showcase their impressive talents.

Are you a Secondary School student interested in joining the program? If so, please contact Lema.Salaymeh@wcdsb.ca