ifferences” Club hosted a festive Holi celebration on May 24, which featured dancing, Indian cuisine, and the throwing of colored powder in jubilation of the new season. Siddhi Vaishnav, a Mepham High School alumnus, taught students a Bollywood dance lesson. Vaishnav co-owns Nartan Rang Dance Academy, which has locations in New Hyde Park and Hicksville.
She discussed the Hindu festival’s tradition.
“Holi is a high holiday that marks the beginning of spring,” Vaishnav explained to students.
“While typically celebrated in March, due to the weather not being great at that time of year, we decided to push the event to May,” explained faculty adviser and science teacher Neeru Partap. Partap, along with co-adviser/science teacher Josephine Parlagreco and English teacher Linu Chacko planned the event.
Vaishnav explained more about the Holi celebration. “It signifies the victory of good over evil and like Hindu mythology and religion,” she said. “There is a tradition of gathering together with food and celebration which includes people getting together and tossing different colored powder. It’s really meant to be fun and bring people together and symbolize friendship, unity, and good over evil.”
The World of Differences Club at Mepham explores multiple different cultures throughout the year while hosting various cultural events and activities. The AWOD Club seeks to explore the value of diversity while improving intergroup relations. “We do things for Hispanic Month and Chinese New Year but we’re also a service club and we do a lot of service activities as well,” said Parlagreco
Vaishnav graduated in 1999 and discussed how Mepham has changed and become even more inclusive from when she graduated to today. “It’s been fun for me to come back,” she said. “We had a Culture Club back then and we would have cultural club assemblies and my sister and I danced at those. I’m happy to see how far things have come.”
“Anytime we’ve done this, I’ve texted her and she always wants to be here,’’ added Partap. She loves it because when she was at Mepham the culture was a little bit different. I started in 2001 and things have changed. The population changes and kids get interested in other things. She was so excited when Ms. P and I started doing this.”
Students spent the afternoon of celebration indulging in traditional Indian food such as paneer, pokada, samosas, and jalebi. Then, donning their matching white AWOD T-shirts, students tossed cups of colored powder into the air and celebrated with each other on a beautiful spring afternoon.
“It’s amazing I’m glad we did this”, said Mepham senior, Layla Theldula. I like these kinds of events because when we do stuff like this it makes everybody feel more accepted.”