In observance of Catholic Schools Week, an annual celebration which includes Catholic schools in Palau and the US, students from Mindszenty High School (MHS) were guided by local instructors at the Bureau of Agriculture, the Palau Livestock Association, and Airai community in the traditional arts of food prep.
Cultural Day, which began yesterday morning and continued into the evening, versed students in cultural practices such as weaving, harvesting food, and cooking.
The MHS girls were taken to a taro patch in Airai and guided by local women in harvesting dryland and swamp taro plants, as well as weaving using palm leaves.
The boys, meanwhile, were taken to Rose Ongalibang’s Pig Farm at Ngerikiil, Airai and the Bureau of Agriculture in Ngchesar State and taught the traditional method of slaughtering, dressing, and preserving a pig, donated to the school by the Palau Livestock Association.
Dr. Patrick Tellei of Palau Community College (PCC) led the students in preparing fish and preserving them with salt and palm leaves.
The food will be served in a feast this afternoon to the MHS body and families of the students on MHS campus, following cultural dances performed by each of Mindszenty’s classes. The performances will take place between 8:30 and 11am, while lunch will be served between 11 and noon.
Principal Julita Dohorong of MHS said that Cultural Day is not only important for keeping these traditional skills alive, but also for instilling traditional values and disciplines in the students, such as “faith, excellence, and service”. She added that it helped people from different backgrounds to “come together”.
“We have a diverse group of students and teachers at Mindszenty, and not all of them are from Palau. But sharing these traditions with all members of our community is at the center of our culture and faith,” said the Principal.
She also said that she was inspired by the actions of the MHS staff throughout the week.
“The impact of the whole week was positive, productive, and creative because of our commitment to student learning, of all kinds,” she said.
Catholic Schools Week began on Monday, January 31, with several community outreach activities. 72 freshmen and sophomores performed a coastal cleanup at Ngeremdui Rock Island, guided by Vanray Tadao from Koror State Government Department of Conservation & Law Enforcement. The junior and senior classes, meanwhile, collaborated with Palau Visitors Authority staff and the Melekeok State Government to plant 200 giant clams in Ngermedellim Marine Sanctuary. Catholic Schools Week ends today with performances and activities orchestrated by the students.