Westridge School: Nineteen Years of Yam

Westridge School would like to express its deepest gratitude to the Westridge Parent Association and all the volunteers who made this day memorable for the students and community. “Your dedication and generosity never ceases to astound us”.

The Westridge community celebrated the 19th annual Yam Festival last Friday, starting off the Thanksgiving holiday right – with food!

The Ayrshire Courtyard was filled to the max with dozens, if not hundreds, of different yam dishes – everything from cookies and brownies, to soup, sandwiches and more. The Westridge Yam Festival staples – latkes and yam fries – were of course popular (and delicious! Seriously, can we get latkes in the Commons?).

Several alumnae returned for the event, including one recent college grad who will not be named who exclaimed, “I haven’t had this in FOUR years!” as she perused the dishes with a tupperware in tow to collect all her yam goodies.

But in all seriousness, the Yam Festival is more than just a day for our taste buds to celebrate. It originated as a day to celebrate the diversity in our community. Nearly 20 years ago, the planning committee from the “Families of Black Students at Westridge” (FOBSAW) was interested in celebrating the month of October in a different manner. The committee learned that this time of the year is recognized as harvest time in many parts of the world – including the yam which originated in West Africa. Today, it is now a staple food in the Caribbean Islands, South and Central America, Southeast Asia, and India.

After sharing a delicious yam dish at a monthly meeting, the FOBSAW decided to sponsor the inaugural Yam Festival in 1998 in an effort to develop, share, and exchange cultural awareness at Westridge. In doing so, they also found the direct path to the Westridge heart – our bellies! – and the Yam Festival has been an anticipated day in our community ever since.

Special thanks to Diane Henry, a co-founder or the original Yam Festival, who was on campus to help celebrate the day.

Westridge School, 324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena, (626) 799-1053 ext. 200 or visit www.westridge.org.






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