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Putting One BSM Into Action

Putting One BSM Into Action
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By Terra Waymire-Rozman '23, BSM's EPIC Marketing & Communications Intern

Unity is at the heart of Benilde-St. Margaret’s vibrant community. The phrase “One BSM” is common to hear at Masses, award ceremonies, and even in the classroom. There are many different ways in which differences are celebrated at BSM. And as our world changes, BSM grows with it; introducing the school’s Culture and Heritage Fair, an event recognizing that every Red Knight has a unique history worthy of celebration.

The Culture and Heritage Fair took place on Friday, April 28, 2023. Red Knights gathered in the library to learn about the many different cultures of our BSM community. “I am extremely proud of the students who put in the time and effort to build exhibits because it takes courage and vulnerability to begin a tradition like this one,” said Dennis Draughn, director of equity, inclusion, and belonging. “I am excited to see what the future holds with this event and to expand it in a way that allows us the opportunity to see many other cultures of students at BSM."

The student-led event showcased a wide range of cultural displays and various countries which offered students an opportunity to learn about some of their peers' cultures and heritages. Senior Sophia Sonbol ‘23 represented Egypt and was among 21 other students who volunteered their time, knowledge, experiences, customs, and samplings of traditional foods. Sonbol had a wonderful experience not only presenting but participating in her peers' presentations. “I enjoyed [the fair] so much. The outcome was so much better than what I expected and it was a very heartfelt event for me. I thought that everything went smoothly and the majority of people were respectful. I loved trying the different foods and listening to people talk proudly about their culture and heritage and I was excited to play all the songs from different countries,” said Sonbol.

This year’s Culture and Heritage Fair provided a platform for students to engage with diverse perspectives and broaden their cultural horizons. BSM leaders and faculty are looking forward to working with students to grow and improve the fair so that more Red Knights will participate in years to come. “I honestly think just making sure that the people who are there are really engaged and know what they want to get out of it, and what they want to experience rather than just being there to try a bunch of food. I think that would be a nice improvement,” said Senior Milla Mirkovic, whose presentation represented the former Republic of Yugoslavia. “But it was honestly a wonderful experience to be able to share [my culture] and to be able to experience what other people brought to the table. It was just phenomenal getting to learn so much about this extra layer to people that I didn’t know.” 

The Culture and Heritage Fair is just one piece of BSM’s efforts toward unity. Affinity groups play an important part in putting One BSM into action. These groups meet weekly to engage in candid discussions about their experiences at BSM and ways the school can progress. “I've definitely seen some positive changes [in BSM] in recent years. An example is how Affinity groups have grown into a space that focuses heavily on education on different histories and successful people of color. I've never felt as much belonging in anything to do with BSM as I do when I'm in an Affinity meeting,” Sonbol said. 

The impact that the Culture and Heritage Fair as well as Affinity groups have had on the BSM community has made waves in the student body just by showing representation and teaching peers. “It's important to have a heritage fair because people can always learn more,” said Elex Watterson '23. "In a predominantly white school like BSM, it's important to educate each other on cultures different than theirs. It keeps people aware of issues and creates a sense of understanding towards others. I think BSM does try to support all groups of people to their best abilities. Having an affinity group is definitely a good way to help POC feel supported.”

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About Benilde-St. Margaret's School
Benilde-St. Margaret's (BSM) is a Catholic, co-educational private prep school for grades 7–12 located in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, that draws its over one thousand students from throughout the Twin Cities Metro Area. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

The mission of BSM is to educate, empower, and inspire learners within a Catholic community to lead lives of faith, achieve academic excellence, and contribute meaningfully to a global society.

Please contact the BSM Marketing and Communications team

BSM Office of  Communications

David Lucs, Director
(Media, News Releases) 

Ife Adebola, Specialist
(Social Media, Knightly News, Photography/Video) 

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