When you’re a student on a campus housing five small schools, it’s easy to get competitive. That’s the atmosphere Kesha Patel both embraces and seeks to improve at the Olympic Community of Schools, where she will soon graduate from the school of International Studies and Global Economics. The Global School, as it’s called on campus, is like many schools in Charlotte-Mecklenburg a multicultural environment. Kesha, who is of Hindi descent, recognized that during her freshman year. At the outset of her sophomore year, the Global student founded the Olympic Multicultural Club.
“We had all of these different groups on campus, but nothing that was really global,” Kesha explains. “I got the idea for the club because I felt that students from different backgrounds and ethnicities should be represented here, too.”
The Multicultural Club has been a hit, fielding many events in its three years of existence. The first of these was an international art display at the campus field day. That display featured Chinese art and Henna tattoos, as well as an invitation for students to create fusion pieces inspired by the different styles on display. The club has also hosted a Multicultural Festival and this year sponsored a Teacher Appreciation buffet featuring international food.
Kesha’s interest in multiculturalism is rooted in her love of dance. At age six, she began studying Indian dance. As she got older, she became interested in Latin dance, and from there branched out into many different styles of the discipline. Her dedication was strong, as evidenced by her dance team’s travel schedule: “We lived in Marietta [GA], but the competitions were in Macon,” she says. “We had to drive a little over an hour to get there.”
Although she stopped dancing competitively upon moving to Charlotte, Kesha never stopped dancing. Her new passion is creating what she calls “fusion styles” of dance from different cultural dances. “I love choreography,” says the senior. “For me, that’s the most fun part [of dance].”
Kesha’s dedication to multiculturalism is perfect for the small schools model the Olympic campus follows. At a school where test scores are on the rise due partly to the individual schools’ competing with each other, the ability to reach across cultural boundaries is key. Kesha began honing these skills as part of the Model UN, in conjunction with Queens University of Charlotte. During her sophomore and junior years, the Global School had a top-ten Model UN team in CMS.
This fall, the National, Spanish and Science Honor Society member will attend UNCC. She is undecided about what she will study, but she knows one thing – she wants to travel. “I turned down a study abroad opportunity in Peru when the Siemen’s Engineering Internship came along,” Kesha says. “I still want to travel and see as many different countries as I can.”