Cultural exchange with East Islip shows a side of Bay Shore

Mainaku Borrero

In December, a number of students from East Islip High School shadowed Bay Shore students in a cultural exchange in order to learn more about our community.

“We have never done a cultural exchange with East Islip before,” said Dr. Katie Kelly, school social worker. “The advisor there is a former Bay Shore graduate and wanted to bring her kids back to her hometown.” 

Bay Shore and East Islip are about three miles away from each other. Despite this, East Islip has a completely different town makeup than Bay Shore.

“We find that towns on Long Island, even though they are so close to each other, share not only a different make up of their population but different traditions, opportunities, sports teams, pizza places, etc,” said Dr. Kelly. “We take this opportunity so that students from other schools can visit Bay Shore and see our rich diversity and what it contributes to our beautiful community.”

The cultural exchange is an important event that gets people from different towns on Long Island together. Learning about the community that you live in has the potential to be extremely interesting. 

“I think it is important for people to at least acknowledge how other people live,” said Christopher Orellana, junior.  “And how different other people’s lives are compared to yours.”

Understanding life on Long Island from different perspectives of towns gives you insight into how that town operates. For example, the U.S. Army does not come to promote membership in East Islip. 

“I think it’s better in terms of diversity,” said Jesse Nijera, junior, and president of East Islip’s peer support. “I think the way teachers embrace diversity is very awesome, and I think we should have that in our East Islip programs.” 

The cultural exchange has been happening in Bay Shore for over 20 years. Previous exchanges have been done with West Islip, Connetquot, and Kings Park.

“I hope that people can take something out of this experience,” said Orellana. “And maybe come out learning something about the community we all live in.”