Unity in Diversity

Seniors celebrate cultural heritages

Emma Gilmore, Scene Editor

When it comes to Hoover, harmony between students is felt and encouraged by many. Whether if we all come together at a sports game, pep rally, or in our academic classes, the Class of 2020 has done a phenomenal job at showing our united Viking strength. Although our similarities have helped provide us with a sense of unity, it is truly our differences that make us who we are. 

Hoover’s Class of 2020 shares something special:  a unique melting pot of students from all different backgrounds.  From having Swahilian roots to Greek ancestry, the Class of 2020 has a large range of students that come from all different cultures and backgrounds. 

Tresor Nshimiye, who is his family’s first generation born in the United States, feels that Hoover has a leg up compared to other places when it comes to diversity. 

“There has never been a moment where I have felt downtrodden,” he said. 

When it comes to traditions, each family has their own. Nshimiye’s parents, who migrated to the United States with a community of refugees during the genocide of 1994, have brought their traditions to North Canton with them. Tresor loves these traditions, and his favorite is making sambuses and other Rwandan dishes before big events. 

Another senior who treasures her family’s unique traditions is Alexia Guira, who comes from Greek heritage. Her grandparents migrated to North Canton from Greece and hold their cultural traditions close to their hearts. Guira loves celebrating Easter with her family. She attends very poignant greek church services and then celebrates after.

“We all go to Steak N’ Shake to celebrate Easter around 3 a.m.,” she said. “This is definitely different from how other cultures celebrate, but it’s so fun.”

Besides having different traditions, there are many other things that make the Class of 2020 a melting pot. Despite the most commonly used language in America being English, this senior class has many students that are bilingual. One of these students, Zermeen Siddigi, is also fluent in Arabic and is familiar with Urdu.

“My mom is from Jordan and she immigrated to the U.S. at around age 15,” she said. “My dad grew up in Pakistan and moved to the U.S. to get his master’s degree.” 

Siddigi and her family are very passionate about their origin and many of their traditions are focused around their strong Muslim faith. For example, every year Siddigi and her family fast for Ramadan. They also celebrate Eid twice a year, which Siddigi says is comparable to Christmas. 

There are many ways that Hoover students have celebrated their backgrounds and traditions to become involved in the community. Guira enjoys her involvement in the Greek organizations of Maids of Athena and Goya. 

“Goya is a Greek youth organization of teenagers that come together in their faith and have fun while playing basketball, going to dances, and church,” she said. “I’m also involved in Maids of Athena, which is a chapter of Greek girls that do community service.”

Other opportunities for students to become involved include the language clubs and community organizations.

Diversity is much more than just the differentiation; it is the integration of all people. Diversity is what people make of it, and the Class of 2020 has done just that. Yet as we all separate and take our own paths, it is important to continue to promote diversity in our future. For us to truly succeed, we must remember that diversity is a key factor in other situations besides school.

“Diversity exists when you go above and beyond being aware of differences or accepting differences to the point of actively including people who are different from you,” Nshimiye said. “This is our next step.” ♦