Set up in the lobby of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Library (OWHL), the mixed heritage affinity group Mosaic lays out books, scrapbooks, and photos to create and share a display table for the ninth annual Mixed Heritage Awareness Week with the Andover Community.
The display table and photo essay are traditions that have been kept for nearly a decade by the club in hopes to inform the Andover community on what Mosaic means and why it is significant on campus. Board member Camila McGrinley ’23 comments specifically on how and why Mosaic continues to carry on the tradition each year, specifically highlighting the platform it brings to student voices.
“The photo essay highlights the awareness part of Mixed Heritage Awareness week because it gives so many students and faculty the opportunity to learn more about mixed heritage people’s experiences and identities. Additionally, it gives mixed students a forum to share their feelings, experiences, and identity. This is…a key part of the photo essay because so many students have an array of experiences and want to share them to challenge other people’s thoughts and perspectives,” said McGrinley.
The photo essay compiles photos and short blurbs from mixed heritage students and faculty to create a visual display for Mixed Heritage Awareness Week as opposed to other text-heavy forms of presentation. Lydia Mechegia ’24, a student who had engaged with the exhibit, commented on why she found the visual format of the display table easy to understand.
“I really appreciated the format of the display table because it was just a lot easier to understand [from] visually seeing pictures of people opposed to reading something that is really long,” said Mechegia.
Another part of the display table are scrapbooks which have compiled photos and work of alumni and teachers who are of mixed heritage. Langan Garrett ’24 discussed how she gained a window into the experiences of mixed heritage students from looking through the scrapbooks of photo essays from years past.
“I think that it really inspired me to think about how influential mixed heritage can be within a person’s life and within their narrative. I think that it also brought up an interesting point about how you shouldn’t make assumptions…That’s kind of obvious, but it really just underlines and emphasizes that,” said Garrett.
Continuing this annual tradition allows mixed students to feel both represented and connected to each other within the Andover community. Mosaic board member Christine Michael ’22 shared why the photo essay is her favorite part of the OWHL display and how it represents the club name.
“I really like the photo essay, because it’s just such a visual thing. So even if you don’t read any of the words, if you just look through the photo essay itself, you can just see how different every mixed person looks. I just really like how diverse it is…I like how our name is ‘Mosaic’ for the mixed heritage affinity group, just how we really are a mosaic of different people, different experiences, different backgrounds. I just think it’s really cool to look through,” said Michael.