The annual Taste of CA celebration, held this year on April 24, brought together more than 500 students, family members, faculty, and staff to honor the many cultures represented throughout the Colorado Academy community.
Guests of all ages, some dressed in festive traditional clothing, filled the CA Field House, where globally inspired decorations, fun activities, and plenty of tables for gathering made everyone feel welcome. International flags hung all around the space, and banners read, “CA celebrates you!”
“I’ve heard the words ‘unity in diversity’ said many times,” says Co-Chair Christina Joymon, “but I see it in person every year through the Taste of CA in the way everyone cooperates in sharing food, helping set and clean up the space, and offering so much support.”
Co-Chair Meghan Geisler, an eight-year veteran participant in the Taste of CA, adds, “This event is my joy because of everything that it represents: everyone is celebrated and everyone belongs.”
Dozens of homemade potluck dishes prepared by CA families offered a sampling of culinary traditions—including snacks, entrees, and desserts—from around the world, and performers entertained the crowd with music, singing, and dancing. Students and parents new to CA joined the festivities for their first taste of the inclusive spirit that defines the school community.
“This absolutely amazing tradition has thrived for many years at CA,” said Head of School Dr. Mike Davis as he kicked off the celebration, “and it’s grown and grown to become one of the most beloved events of the year.”
Davis continued, “Celebrating the identity of every individual who is part of this community is in perfect alignment with our mission of creating ‘curious, kind, courageous, and adventurous learners and leaders.’ We all have a story connected to who we are and how we came to be, and these stories bring us closer together.”
As they arrived, attendees made their way to buffet tables to sample dishes from Canada, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Vietnam, and many other nations. Children took advantage of the special occasion to share their heritage and show off their special outfits to friends. Families sat close around the tables to feast and exchange stories.
CA students soon took the stage to greet the attendees in their families’ native languages, which included Bengali, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, and Spanish. Then Joymon welcomed the first of the evening’s entertainers, Taiko with Toni and Lance, performing traditional songs and contemporary compositions on the thundering Japanese drum and bamboo flute.
Next it was time for CA’s own Lower School Choir, made up of Fourth and Fifth Graders and led by Lower School music teacher Brenda Bartel, to offer their internationally inspired contribution, “Cantamos! (We Sing!)” by James M. DesJardins. The Spanish and English lyrics pledge, “I want to sing with the strength of a thousand generations. I want to sing with the strength of a million mighty nations.”
The musical groups were followed by perhaps the most anticipated event of the night—the Parade of Nations. Scores of CA students and family members were introduced as they paraded proudly across the event stage to represent their home countries and communities. Deafening applause and high-fives greeted each parade participant.
Rasta Salsa Latin Dance then led audience members in a lesson in the popular Latin American form, which mixes Cuban dances such as mambo and rumba with American styles such as swing. The evening was capped off by the Kalama Polynesian Dance Company, which enchanted the crowd with numbers inspired by the indigenous dances of Tahiti, New Zealand, and Hawai’i.
“I’ve loved seeing the Taste of CA grow from a small event in the Dining Hall to this huge celebration in the Field House,” Joymon says. “I love that new families have a great way of joining our community with such a fun and welcoming event. The Taste of CA is a night of true inclusivity.”