BY SOFIA DA MATA

Promoting Relationships in Diversity through Education (PRIDE) celebrated international culture in the community by participating in the sixth annual Weston World Fest hosted by The Arts Council of Greater Weston on March 7 at the Bay. As a result of the added Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, AICE Spanish Language AS and Language and Literature for International Studies four Honors teacher and club adviser Claudina Fernandez said the event was organized as a drive-through. 

“After all these months of confinement, people need to be cheered up,” Fernandez said, “I would recommend that all participants, not only the students, be enthusiastic and encourage the cars participating to display decorations of their country of origin.” 

Amidst the new rules for the Weston World Fest, Junior and Catering Director of International Night Diego León said the community needed a balance between maintaining safety and holding social events like the Weston World Fest. León said this was the reason he chose to participate in this event and had no major safety concerns.

“I believe that we still need to provide entertainment for our community despite the circumstances; it is important to stay safe, but it is also important to have fun,” León said. “I’m sure safety precautions will be applied, so there is no need to be worried.”

The event consisted of multiple tent booths that displayed various international cultures through decorations, music and games and PRIDE showcased booths for Ukraine and Spain. Junior and Community Service Director Lara Becerra Reymundo said she was in charge of making sure that the setup for the two booths and the overall event ran smoothly, as it was the first in-person event prepared by PRIDE since Feb. 21, 2020.

“Although this event is different from previous years, we will promote diversity and make sure that the visitors have a good time,” Becerra said. “It is a very fun event to do with friends and a nice opportunity for PRIDE to start off with in-person events.” 

Through the Weston World Fest, students had a chance to volunteer for The Arts Council of Greater Weston and receive service hours. Fernandez said she hoped students would be able to take advantage of this event to unite as a culturally diverse community and earn service hour opportunities as well. 

“Through PRIDE events, we provide all students in our school the opportunity to explore different cultures and allow students who come from different countries to have school connectedness,” Fernandez said. “PRIDE just served as a liaison between the Arts Council and the students to communicate the service hour opportunity.”

With the event approaching, Becerra said she recalled her first experience in the Weston World Fest, which was far better than she had expected due to the great attendee turnout and the expansive cultural diversity present. Becerra said this event brings awareness to the significance of embracing ethnic inclusivity in our community. 

“I believe celebrating diverse cultures is important because it helps bring unity,” Becerra said. “Cultural knowledge is building respect and tolerance towards other cultures and beliefs.”

 As this was his third year volunteering for the Weston World Fest, León said he encourages others to participate in this event next year. He said students should take advantage of the amazing experiences the Weston World Fest has to offer.

“Encourage your friends and family to attend the event, as it is a fun way to engage in your community,” Leon said. “It is worth seeing everything come together and it is nice spending time with friends and family making memories.”