The diverse student population of Joaquin Miller Elementary School was highlighted at Miller Cultural Appreciation Night Wednesday evening, April 6. Held in the school library, the event featured poetry, singing, dance, history and instrumental music and doubled as a book drive.
Performances included Armenian and Spanish poetry readings and singing, Bollywood-style Indian dance performances by Miller’s students, a presentation of Aztec and Inca history by Miller’s Spanish Community Liaison Estela Sermeno and Armenian music performed by master Duduk player Ruben Harutyunyan.
Samulnori, a traditional Korean percussion ensemble of drums and gongs, was performed by Korean-American middle and high school students from Los Angeles, all members of the cultural nonprofit group 3.1 Women’s Association in USA.
“The event was a celebration of the different cultures represented at the school and featured performances and a book drive to expand our library to reflect Miller’s diversity,” commented Principal Judy Hession.
“The opportunity to share our differences and to learn from each other can only help to unite us and make us stronger as a school and community.”
More than 120 people, including students, parents, teachers and staff attended the Miller Cultural Appreciation Night.
Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos, BUSD Board of Education members Dr. Armond Aghakhanian and Dr. Roberta Reynolds, BUSD Superintendent Matt Hill, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Development and Implementation Sharon Cuseo, Director of Elementary Education Dr. Peter Knapik and former Mayor of Burbank Marsha Ramos also attended.
Author Khoren Aramouni, winner of the William Saroyan Medal, made a special guest appearance.
“What started as a simple book drive turned into a beautiful celebration,” added Aghakhanian. “Tonight was a demonstration of the beauty and the strength of diversity and how education can unite the community.”
The event was a partnership between the Miller school community and organizations including Davidian & Mariamian Educational Foundation, Burbank Friends of Glendale Latino Association, Korean American Coalition, Barnes and Noble Burbank and publishing company Susaeta Ediciones.
More than 250 books in different languages were donated to the school library from Miller parents, students and the partner organizations.