Celebrating Diversity


Simrat Singh

Math department chair Shelley Godett celebrates Christmas and history teacher Natasha Schottland celebrates Hannukah.

Simrat Singh and Dylan Thakarar

The student body consists of many cultures that celebrate different holidays over winter break, including Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

According to Pew Research, Christmas is the most celebrated holiday across the nation; 90% of Americans claim to celebrate Christmas regardless of their religious affiliations.

“We go out to dinner on Christmas Eve, and my kids put out reindeer dust on the lawn,” math department chair Shelley Godett said. “When growing up Italian, we used to celebrate Christmas with my great-grandfather that came from Italy. It was the sons of Italy dinner, and it was a huge group meeting, and it’s like a big group of people with a similar heritage.”

Hanukkah is the second most celebrated holiday in the United States with 3% of Americans celebrating it, according to Pew Research. Hanukkah is predominantly celebrated by Jewish people signifying when Jews stood up against their Greek and Syrian oppressors in 2 B.C.E.

“As a kid it was fun; we played dreidel, ate latkes,” history teacher Natasha Schottland said. “Hanukkah is not a big holiday in the Torah. Like in the Old Testament, it’s not a big deal, so it’s kind of a Hallmark holiday, but it was fun. We got socks every night, so eight socks throughout the holiday.”

According to History Buff, Kwanzaa is the third most celebrated winter holiday in the United States, with 1 to 5% of Americans celebrating the holiday. Kwanzaa celebrates African-American heritage and is not a religious holiday, as many people who celebrate Kwanzaa also celebrate Christmas.

“We feast, give gifts and light one candle per day. The candles symbolize the seven principles of Kwanzaa. It is a week-long celebration,”sophomore William Kennedy said. “We celebrate and honor African-American heritage and our culture. From Dec. 25 to Jan. 1, I celebrate both Kwanzaa and Christmas. I am Jamaican, and my ancestors passed this tradition down to me.”