Roma Neupane’s favorite thing to do is dance. She shimmies when she walks. She shakes when she cooks. She even twirls in her dreams.
On Thursday, the native of Nepal whose family recently emigrated as refugees, performed a traditional Indian dance at Mitchell High School’s annual Multicultural Day.
As her feet and arms slowed and the skirt of her beaded turquoise costume fluttered into place, roaring applause erupted.
“I love that everyone gets to show their culture today,” said Neupane, a Wasson High School senior who’s on the cusp of 18. “Everyone cares about each other, and there’s no discrimination. Everyone gets equal rights.”
Mitchell High School became a smorgasbord of international music, food, song, dance and solidarity Thursday during lunch periods and an afternoon assembly. Students from Wasson High School, which shares some classes with Mitchell, also attended.
The purpose: “To celebrate diversity, have kids have pride in their heritage and educate them,” said Dolores Flores Borrero, a Mitchell Spanish teacher who coordinated the event.
Mitchell has a diverse student body, she said; 60 percent are Spanish speaking or have Hispanic surnames.
But many countries were represented at the event, including Puerto Rico, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Nepal, Japan, Korea, Iraq and the United States.
Greg Erio Berryman hosted an exhibit of Japanese artifacts and clothing, some from his mother and grandmother. Dressed in a kimono and geta, traditional Japanese wooden sandals, Berryman said he was having fun.
“Everyone thinks I have awesome shoes,” he said.
The Cha Cha Slide and the Harlem Shuffle brought many to their feet. Students who took to the stage and those who watched said they appreciated the cultures uniting as one.
“It’s really interesting,” said 15-year-old Miguel Espinosa, a sophomore. “Look at everyone observing — they’re having a great time.”
The eight-member rap group, Flowcabulary also grabbed attention. Members tell stories about their lives in their rap lyrics and purposefully use big words to help teach students.
“A lot of people believe rapping doesn’t have vocabulary, but it does,” said sophomore Tyler “Rhymez” Miller, adding that he thinks Multicultural Day is a great experience.
“A lot of people are proud of their heritage and want to share it. This opens students’ eyes to the fact that even though people may have a different culture, we’re all one big family,” he said.
Senior Abril Carmona, who relocated from Mexico with her family 12 years ago to “live the American dream,” expressed similar thoughts. One of eight Folklorico dancers dressed in traditional, colorful Mexican costume, Carmona said she enjoyed the day.
“We celebrate our cultures differently, but we’re all the same,” she said.