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Somali students salute school

St. Cloud Times
By Mackenzie Ryan, [email protected]
Friday, January 18, 2008

PHOTO CREDIT: Times photos by Jason Wachter, jwachter@stcloudtim

Somali students at Technical High School perform a dance Thursday during Somali Entertainment Night at Technical High School. Tech students
A handful of Somali students demonstrated traditional dances and shared their culture Thursday as a way to say thanks to faculty and staff at Technical High School.

It was a time for laughter, praise and questions; a time to share, to better understand differences, to bring the communities closer together.

Audience members marveled at the elaborate and brightly colored dresses the girls showed off during the dances and fashion show.

A skit demonstrated what education in Somalia is like, where teachers use physical discipline if a student does not turn in homework.

And the students praised the American education system and their experience here.

"They have supported us," said Amal Hassan, a Tech senior.

About 44 Somali students put on the event with help from Somali adults, teachers and community organizers, she said.

"It was really nice seeing the students taking ownership of their school," teacher Andria Christenson said. "It was their idea. They raised the money; I'm extremely proud of them."

Each year Somali students, steadily growing in number

here in the past decade, hosted a meal as a way to show respect and say thanks.

"St. Cloud Technical High School is a great school. It's a good place to be. They have welcomed us," Hassan said.

Hosting a Somali night and presenting pieces of their culture was a natural next step as students grew more comfortable and confident at Tech.

And the presentation was as much for the students as it was for the community — it's a way to keep their culture alive, said Abdirahman Muhumed, who coached the students for the presentation.

Some Somali students have lived in America since elementary school; hosting an event, which they hope to do annually, is one way to teach and practice traditional dances and wear traditional dress, he said.

"We don't want our children to forget their culture," Muhumed said.

Source: St. Cloud Times, Jan 18, 2008


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