The Islip School District held its annual ENL Family Cultural Night on March 24, celebrating the district’s ENL students and its vibrant multicultural community. The event began with students and their families gathering in the Islip High School auditorium.
“I’m happy to be part of a community that embraces our diversity, is inclusive, values the contributions and insights of all families, and I’m happy to say, is getting better each and every day,” Superintendent Dr. Dennis O’Hara said in his welcoming address.
Senior Anthony Lopez, the Class of 2022’s salutatorian, also spoke, telling the inspiring story of how diligent reading greatly enhanced his English language skills.
In one of the evening’s highlights, the exceptional achievements of one English language learner from each of the district’s schools were recognized. This year’s honorees were Muhammad Mahmud of Wing Elementary School, Yasli Gutierrez of Commack Road Elementary School, Melannie Pomavilla of Maud S. Sherwood Elementary School, Pamela Carvajal of Islip Middle School and Daiana Fuentes Velasquez of Islip High School.
Following a guest performance by author Adriana Devers, originally from the Dominican Republic, the activities moved to the high school cafeteria, where the students, staff and community members sampled various culinary traditions and viewed educational displays and information on Islip’s family programs.
“Our students speak 16 different languages around the district and represent many different cultures,” said Rabia Hirji, Islip’s coordinator of ENL and world languages. “We take pride in our multicultural community and want to showcase and celebrate that with our families.”