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On Saturday, January 25, the Fordham Prep community came together for its annual Ricci Night. The night, organized by the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, is a celebration of the diversity of the Prep community.
The evening is named after Jesuit, Fr. Matteo Ricci, SJ, a pioneer of cultural exchanges. Ricci immersed himself in and displayed profound respect for the diversity of cultures, promoted mutual understanding, and was a master of building relationships between cultures. Through food, music, and dance, the Fordham Prep community gathered to celebrate its vast diversity.
During the evening’s festivities, the school honored two of its faculty with the Wanda Piñeiro Diversity Award. Mr. George Febles P '22, Social Studies teacher and head of the school’s Cross Country and Track and Field programs, and Dr. Craig Smith, Religious Studies teacher and Head Tennis Coach, were this year’s recipients. Both have worked tirelessly both inside and outside the classroom to ensure that Fordham Prep remains a community that both welcomes and celebrates its diversity. Senior Brendan Hamilton ‘20 was also presented with the Matteo Ricci Award to recognize his commitment to cultural diversity at the Prep and his contributions on the Global Education trip to Xela, Guatemala last year.
Guests were treated to food and desserts from a variety of ethnic backgrounds as well as the music from the Fordham Prep Jazz Ensemble and the Cardinal Hayes Singers.
Mr. Randy Pedro P’12, ’17, chair of the Religious Studies Faculty and Coordinator of Diversity and Inclusion, said, “The evening allows us the opportunity to recognize and celebrate all families who help weave the beautifully diverse tapestry of our community. It’s a night of fun, dinner, dancing and the recognition of our shared mission to be People for Others. When we celebrate our diversity we allow all members of the community to be equal stakeholders in creating our collective school culture.”
Fordham Prep, even in its earliest days as the Second Division of St. John’s College, has always served students from a wide variety of backgrounds. Students in the first decade of Fordham Prep’s existence hailed from Canada, the Carribean, Mexico, and South America. Today, over 35% of the current Fordham Prep faculty identify themselves as persons of color.