VIDEO: Haisley Heritage Festival celebrates culture, community

By Tara Cavanaugh

At the Haisley Heritage Festival, you can feel like you’re a world away –– and right at home.

The annual festival highlights students’ families and cultures with booths, foods and dances. It also creates a sense of community within the school itself.

“It’s an amazing event because it brings all of our families together,” said Haisley Principal Kathy Scarnecchia at the Jan. 31 event.

Many families band together to provide an informative booth, food, cultural dress and artifacts.

“I love the heritage festival,” said fifth grader Annika Jaglan. “I want to tell everyone about India’s culture, because it’s so beautiful and rich to me.”

Aneka spent five days creating a large poster board full of images that represent India. At the event, she was joined by five Indian families serving Indian cuisine and wearing typical Indian ensembles.

Providing enough food to feed hundreds of visitors is no small feat. Ethan White, a fourth grade student, bragged that his dad made 165 latkes out of 13 pounds of potatoes and three pounds of onions. It took him six hours.

Last Thursday’s event marked Haisley’s third festival. It’s organized by Kristin Stoops, the gym teacher. The point of the festival is “to celebrate the different backgrounds from different families in our school, and to share that with the whole community,” she said.

Parent Ingela Oginsky, from Sweden, has participated in the festival for three years. “I think that when you learn with every sense, with your taste and your vision, it’s just more meaningful,” she said.

The festival has grown tremendously, said Stoops. “This year, we have a table shortage!”

Given the bubbly chatter, dancing and exchanging of food in the multipurpose room, the event was clearly a smashing success –– as usual. “The best thing is, no matter what their culture is, they’re having a wonderful time together as friends from school,” said Principal Scarnecchia, as she glanced around the energetic room. “The kids just absolutely love it.”

Related on the AAPS News:

The AAPS District News welcomes thoughtful comments, questions and feedback.

All comments will be screened and moderated.

In order for your comment to be approved:

  • You must use your full name
  • You must not use  profane or offensive language
  • Your comment must be on topic and relevant to the story

Please note: any comment that appears to be spam or attacks an individual will not be approved.


  1. Hi Tara, my name is misspelled in the article. It’s Annika Jaglan and not Aneka. Could you please correct it. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.