A spoonful of culture
Once a year, St. Agnes organizes a school-wide luncheon called International Food Fest, or IFF, where students bring dishes from their culture, or a culture they appreciate, to share with the school during lunch. It is a highly anticipated day in the year for students to share the food they love and to try new foods from different cultures. The tradition has been part of St. Agnes for years, originating with Georgia Skopal.
Skopal, Campus Minister years ago, was responsible for organizing a school-wide event once a year. As she pondered what to do for this event, she was inspired when teaching the course on Catholic Social Teaching. She dwelled over the class’s central theme: human dignity and Jesus’ second great commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” How can we love our neighbor if we do not know them? Skopal wondered. After further reflection, she proposed hosting an event to learn about the customs and food of St. Agnes families. This contemplation was the beginning of International Food Fest.
IFF has evolved into something grand. Students begin signing up as early as January to help with this beloved luncheon by bringing their favorite meals or volunteering to set up the event. And, of course, students were quick to do so with early sign-up incentives like being entered in drawings for gift cards. The global feast takes place in the gym, which quickly crowds with European, Latin American, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, North American, African, and Asian cuisine – the food ranging from Greek pastitsio to Brazilian pao de queijo. The next room over, waiting in the cafeteria, are tables piled with sweets from countries all over: baklava, pineapple halwa, tres leches, and more.
Lunch ends the same way every year: with trays empty and students full and happy.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on our School Buzz blog. You can read more from Alexandra and other local high school students at here.
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