Students hit the catwalk in week of language and culture celebrations - St Albans High School for Girls


Students hit the catwalk in week of language and culture celebrations

Date Posted: Wednesday 28 February 2024

STAHS marked the rich diversity of its community in style earlier this month with a week-long celebration of language and culture.

Organised by the Modern Foreign Languages Department, the Senior School’s Festival of Language and Culture included Spanish and French plays performed by native actors, workshops in Chinese dance and Japanese language and writing, and a Poetry Slam competition, which saw groups of students delivering poems in French, German, Spanish and Mandarin.

Year 7 Religious Studies students also travelled to Bhaktivedanta Manor near Watford, where they learned about the Hare Krishna religion and took part in an Indian dance workshop.

The STAHS Catering team produced a series of themed lunch menus during the week, offering everything from Austrian and Chinese to Welsh and Pakistani cuisine. These special menus were created following consultation with students, who were invited to share details of dishes their families enjoy.

The week drew to a close with a vibrant Cultural Fashion Show, with more than 40 staff and students showing off their traditional attire on a specially installed catwalk. This was followed by Chinese ribbon dancing and a routine from the student-led Fusion Dance Club, which celebrates all forms of South Asian dance.

The fashion show was organised by Year 13 students Nethaya Bulathsinhala and Joan Alabi; Joan acted as MC during the event, while Nethaya performed with Fusion Dance Club, which she founded.

Head of STAHS Amber Waite said: ‘The Cultural Fashion Show was a fantastic show of the strength of our community here at STAHS and a great way of celebrating the diversity of cultures within our staff and student body.’

Prep pupils had their own Language and Culture Week celebrations, led by Art and Mandarin teacher Mandy Ma and French teacher Emma Smart.

They used their French to request a pain au chocolat for morning snack one day, and explored stories on religion, art, food and music from around the world. They also celebrated the languages they speak at home in school, promoting cultural acceptance among their peers.

There are 58 languages besides English spoken by STAHS students – a third of whom are bilingual – with Gujurati, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi and French the most common. Icelandic, Yoruba, Armenian and Swahili are among the other languages spoken.

Head of STAHS Prep Mike Bryant said: ‘Languages are a personal passion of mine having lived in both France and Germany. I really enjoyed giving eight classes (from Year 2 to Year 6!) a German taster session during the week.’