KIVA Week and Cultures at CT

Cherokee Trail’s KIVA week took place a month ago, allowing students to express and share their culture with the community. With a population that stems from numerous backgrounds, students during the month of Dec. were given the opportunity to showcase the diversity of CT through education and immersive experiences. Due to the diverse student body, we are constantly surrounded by people who come from many different walks of life. This week was simply a way to celebrate all individuals. KIVA week held many occasions to engage the CT community, from movie nights, to concerts, and even speaker panels. Kira Bryant (10), a student creating the KIVA week events for the 2021 school year, describes their mission.
“KIVA is a microfinance company. It basically works to lend small amounts of money to people in other countries or groups in other countries and then they use the money to start a business or to buy food or clothes and they slowly can pay the money back and that money goes to other people in KIVA,” says Bryant (10).
At Cherokee Trail, the sale of pulseras brought in the money KIVA used to give to these countries because of students’ generosity. In the eyes of participants, this week affected the community in many ways.
“I participated because I think it’s really important for everyone to understand other people’s cultures because if you don’t understand the culture and the significance behind it then we kinda lose our perspective on our privilege living in America,” says Elda Abayneh (12), a KIVA week participant and co-president of the IB Minority Club.
In terms of significance, charity greatly aids these nations and their people. Other participants of this week’s events go on to speak to the meaning of this week more.
“I think for CT, KIVA week means helping the global community better,” says Aya Ben Belkacem (12), one of the participants of KIVA week. “I think it’s a way to branch out and get to know the different people who go to CT and not just the people we consistently see,” says Belkacem (12).
To accentuate the vitality of these lectures and showcases, Mrs. Robins, a member of the school’s administration who oversaw the event, relays her own thoughts on the meaning of culture in regards to the Cherokee Trail community.
“I think it’s a way to highlight different cultures around the world and to celebrate the ways that different cultures live and celebrate,” says Robins. To truly drive home the importance of educating people on worldly topics, students remark on how misinterpreting certain ideas can be harmful to many.
“I am Muslim, I think a big part of that comes with definitely a lot of stereotypes when it comes to terrorism and it comes to the way we view Muslims; a lot of it is women who are repressed and I think that personally that doesn’t even come close to fitting me,” says Belkacem (12).
Within the world at large, there is room for improvement in terms of just representation within the globe at large. Within the smaller world of Cherokee Trail, students feel the same way– while events like KIVA week have made great strides in spreading knowledge on a multitude of ethnicities, this singular week does not reflect the same impact made throughout the school year.
“I feel respected at CT but the representation is a bit lacking,” says Matthew Morcos (10). As a member of a minority in America, Morcos and many others share the sentiment of feeling left out despite events like KIVA week.
Many clubs at CT centered around culture and ethnicity, such as the Black Student Alliance, the Muslim Student Association, and the Latino Student Union. The IB Minority Club also falls into this category, and as co-president, Abayneh (12) shares the purpose of their group.