The Soul Food Festival

by Tyra Carter

After a long day of school, the Umoja club was there to comfort students with a plate full of fried chicken and sweet potato pie. The Umoja club held a soul food festival in honor of African American culture on Wednesday, Feb 10 during Activity Period. Students and staff came out to support the club after school in the Small Cafe as they enjoyed the music and traditional soul food.


The members of Umoja prepared the food at home that was served at the festival. Assistant Principal Will Dowdell thought that the chance for each family to add their own culture in the event is what makes is special. “I like how they got a chance to invlove their parents and families,” says Mr. Dowdell.


The students and staff were offered bbq ribs, mac & cheese, cornbread, collard greens, rices and more. Some of the desserts included sweet potato pie, pound cake, brownies, and banana pudding. Also, R&B artists such as Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., and Montell Jordan were played. The food and music prompted  Principal Paul Gasparini to say that “the soul food festival is one of the most fun events of the year, and we have a great time.”


Every year Umoja has their annual soul food festival to remind students and staff that relationships and culture start in the kitchen, says junior Afua Addo. Freshman Aniya Nicholson describes the festival as a celebration of black or African American culture. They have lots of soul food for everyone to enjoy.


The profit from this festival goes towards a college visit that the club intends on having later in the year. “The turnout was better in the past two years,” said Simone Pacillio, Spanish Teacher and Umoja adviser. “However we still made a profit and got donations which helped offset the cost of food and utensils,” she said. She believes that the festival couldn't have been done without the members and their families, but her favorite part of the experince is “Seeing my ‘ Umojins ‘ lined up and ready to go.”


“Umoja is an outstanding club,” said Mr. Gasparini. “We are so proud of the work they do (because) they represent the best of JD,” he said.