SSM Junior Works with Faribault Diversity Coalition for Local International Festival

October 05, 2020


Lotte Aga ’22, a student in Shattuck-St. Mary’s The Major Center of Excellence program, has partnered with the Faribault Diversity Coalition (FDC) to help prepare for this October’s International Festival. Lotte, who moved to Faribault with her family from Belgium last fall, was contacted by newly appointed FDC Project Manager, Peter van Sluis, for help.

The International Festival has become a tradition in Faribault for the last decade and a half. This year’s festival marks the 15th year of the cultural celebration, which will be held outside in Central Park on Saturday, October 10th, to maintain social distancing and other safety precautions. At the festival, “All of the different nationalities in Faribault come together and present something special from their home country,” said Lotte, “like food or an ethnic dance.” She went on to say that they are still looking for dancers, as well as folks to help coordinate a flag ceremony. Normally there are more activities like face painting and bouncy castles for the little ones, but unfortunately, this year will require more innovation when it comes to entertainment.

Robert Gutwein ’95, one of our school counselors, also serves on FDC’s Board of Directors. “This is a great event for our small community,” he said. “People get to learn about far off places, explore culture and experience the world without leaving home. Having Lotte work with FDC on this project is really special too, as she is sharing those experiences in her new home far away from Belgium.”

Lotte has also been helping to update the International Festival banners and signs, as well as to update the FDC website, which currently only has one paid staff member. “I’m really excited about the event, to still bring the community together in these times,” said Lotte.

SSM has always sought to foster an environment of diverse learning for our students, making this event a wonderful opportunity to connect with the larger Faribault community. “As part of the Faribault community, we appreciate these opportunities for our students to share their culture not just with our School but with the broader town,” said Head of School Matt Cavellier. “We are a global community and our ability to engage students from around the world with our neighbors in Faribault is something of which we are proud.”

Be sure to visit the FDC’s International Festival in Central Park between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 10, 2020 to safely explore food, art, and culture from around the globe!

  • Lotte helps create a banner for the International Festival