The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

World Languages Department introduces annual World Language Week festivities

The World Languages Department organized and hosted the first-ever World Languages Week. On the last day of the celebration, LatinX Hispanic Student Organization (LAHSO) co-leaders led line dances on the Quad for students to participate in.

The World Languages Department hosted its first-ever World Languages Week celebration from Jan. 22 to Jan. 26. Throughout the week, the World Languages Department, in partnership with Student Leaders for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (SLIDE), organized cultural activities on the Quad and curated music playlists featuring different languages and cultures. The World Languages Department also arranged cultural clothing themes throughout the week.

The week featured activities such as face painting, salsa and Bachata dance, Afro-Caribbean Bomba, traditional Armenian dance, Chinese singing and more.

World Languages teacher Sephora Escarpeta-Garcia said she took inspiration for World Languages Week from seeing a lack of confidence in sharing different cultures.

“I wanted [World Languages Week] because I think that as language learners, sometimes we’re afraid to share a culture,” Escarpeta-Garcia said. “I want [our students] to not only find their voice in their own culture but to find their own skin and come out of shyness. I also want us, as a department, to share what we do in our classes. We have a lot of fun in our classes, and we do a lot of activities across the languages. We wanted to bring those voices into the community.”

Escarpeta-Garcia said the department also aimed to emphasize the school’s cultural diversity.

“[The celebration] had a cultural focus,” Escarpeta-Garcia said. “It’s not just the languages that we teach here. I think that we have a lot of kids from very diverse cultural backgrounds, and I’d like to see them find a safe space where they can express themselves in whatever language or culture they practice at home.”

As a part of World Languages Week, most language teachers provided extra credit for student participation in the festivities.

Avery Kim ’25, who participated in cultural dancing activities, said he gained a greater appreciation for numerous cultures that are often underrepresented in his daily life.

“I joined in on the World Language Week celebration because I initially saw my friends participate in it,” Kim said. “After dancing for a little bit to music and having fun, I realized the value of celebrating the diversity of the school’s culture. It is a special thing to be able to celebrate so many cultures and languages because outside of my Chinese class and at home, I don’t feel connected to many other cultures.”

The Armenian Club shared Kham-Khama, a traditional dance from Western Armenia (modern-day Turkey). Armenian Club leader Eric Vartany ’24 said the dance on the Quad was an opportunity to highlight Armenia’s cultural sophistication.”

“It’s really interesting because every culture has its dance, music and everything,” Vartany said. “Dance is just one way to explore and indulge in a new culture. It’s a great opportunity to share culture with the rest of the student community that might not know too much about Armenian culture. We’re small people, but we’d like to take up this opportunity to make our culture heard.”

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