The Kyrene Akimel A-al Middle School staff and students are inviting the community to come out and celebrate culture at its campus later this month when they host the third annual Multicultural Fair.

A variety of performances, food and more will be available at the school on Nov. 15. In addition, the fair will consist of performers from a variety of backgrounds. Among them, a Native American traditional hoop dancer and the Fushicho Daiko Phoenix Taiko Drummers will perform. Guests can also get a taste of Indian, Chinese and Native American food.

It ties into the school-wide program, Character Counts, which aims to open the student's eyes to understanding and celebrating diversity at the school.

"The benefit for the students is just to realize that the school is so diverse and to accept everyone for their culture," said Desarae Stelling, Akimel teacher and one of the lead organizers for the event. "Character Counts promotes their character toward each other and goes through respect and responsibility."

Along with the invited performers, the student-led band, choir and theater groups will also perform.

The goal is to promote acceptance toward all students, Stelling said. And since Character Counts, as well as the Multicultural Fair, has been in place, she has seen changes in the students.

"I have seen a big difference in the way they act now because they know what is expected of them," she said. "This fair really does attract a lot of different people, and parents can see the diversity of school. It keeps their mind open to what this school is all about."

The Multicultural Fair will take place at the Akimel A-al, 2720 E. Liberty Lane, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. To find out more information, contact the school at (480) 783-1600.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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