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Sandy Journal

Music, dance and diversity shine at Alta High’s multicultural assembly

Jun 04, 2024 02:50PM ● By Julie Slama

Several Alta High students and groups performed traditional dances at Alta High’s multicultural assembly. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

Alta High sophomore Makya Lameman began Navajo hoop dancing about a year ago.

“I’ve only done a couple of competitions,” he said. “I grew up understanding my culture, but I wanted to learn more by performing dances. My culture is a very vibrant one.”

Lameman performed a healing and storytelling dance with hoops; natives believe that each hoop is like a person and has an important role in the world.

“Basically, it’s about each hoop is a part of this world and when it comes together and it makes sense to our world,” he said. “I wanted to share that with everyone.”

Lameman was one of a dozen performers during Alta’s 60-minute multicultural assembly.

There was a graceful, traditional Tongan dance; a dance from the islands of Samoa to a song that emphasizes putting God first in life; some Latin American dances full of energy and passion; a traditional rhythmic and folk dance from Afghanistan; a vibrant Mexican folk dance and several songs were performed in Spanish and English. Individuals as well as student clubs, including Alta’s ballroom team, performed for their classmates who packed the gymnasium.

Junior Mariam Khan performed with the South Asian Student Association in her colorful traditional Pakistani dress.

“I feel it was important to share our culture of South Asia,” she said. “Obviously, there are multiple parts to South Asia and everybody has their own unique traditions and culture. So we wanted to show how there are different parts of South Asia and how everybody is different while performing together.”

Alta High Idol winner Jolie Heale performed “Cool Down,” with a ukulele in hand.

“I just got a new ukulele this week, so I just barely learned it, but I feel everybody just needs to be more aware of all the diversity in the school,” she said. 

Heale, who was born in Utah, said her heritage is Hawaiian, so she’s familiar with all the traditions, history and culture of her family.

“Everybody should feel comfortable being themselves and having their own culture being around and shared,” she said. “This song is meant to be soothing and relaxing like the peaceful lifestyle of the islands. It’s a song that connects Hawaiian values of community and nature.”

The multicultural assembly is part of the school’s Legacy Week, which celebrates its history and diversity, said Shaley Louder, Alta alumna and student body adviser.

“Legacy week is a chance for us to celebrate our legacy—our high school’s legacy and our individual students legacy and the culture of Alta,” she said. “We’re becoming quite diverse than we were say 20 years ago. These kids have amazing cultures and they’re proud of them, and we want them to have the opportunity to share it with their peers. They are excited, and they volunteer to do these awesome performances. Many of them practice for months to come and perform.”

The Legacy Week activities include lunchtime activities to learn Alta High traditions and history.

“We did some trivia such as what year we opened, how many students did we have, what year did the student body split to open Corner Canyon and even, what are our school colors. We have three officially—black, silver with a hint of red. It says that in our constitution,” she said.

At the start of the assembly, the students were greeted with what it means to be a hawk and the symbolism behind the school mascot.

“We wanted to describe some characteristics of like a hawk and how they’re around the world—and make that connection. We’re all unique and we come from all around the world. But right now, we’re Alta Hawks and we fly together. That’s the point of this assembly. We’re individuals, but united in celebrating and honoring our different cultures,” Louder said. 

Alta student body president Garrett Jessop and other student leaders announced the performers during the assembly.

“It’s amazing at all the different cultures we have, and it’s cool everyone can show off their culture and be supported by each other,” he said. “This week is an opportunity to celebrate our community.” λ