St Lawrence students participate in Cultural Heritage Festival Night

Students at St. Lawrence Seminary High School attend school in Mt. Calvary, a small rural village made up of less than 1,000 people. What makes this boarding school so unique though is the many diverse cultures that make up the student body. Hailing from states such as Wisconsin, Illinois, Virginia, and Texas – from countries such as Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and South Africa – nearly 200 students reside at this boarding school, one of the few left in the state of Wisconsin and the United States.

“The large cultural diversity at St. Lawrence gives our students a great opportunity to experience traditions and customs of many ethnicities, some of which they would not have the chance to in their home communities,” said Philip Van Ermen, director of marketing at the school. “One of the best examples of that diversity is our Cultural Heritage Festival Night.”

The Cultural Heritage Festival Night is organized by the student council members under the direction of their advisors, Margie Buelow and Chad Dowland. The highlight of the event is the making and preparing of various food dishes that are unique to a particular ethnicity.

Students of various ethnicities organized groups which included the ethnicities of Polish, Mexican, Korean, Vietnamese, Indian (Asia), American, and Japanese students. Each group developed a unique menu of a few items that were native to the nationality that they were representing. They then created a grocery list, which was filled with funding from the student council.

Each student is given 10 tickets, which they may turn in to receive a particular food item that looks intriguing. “My classmate Joseph, who is Korean, said I should come try their food when I walked by their area,” sophomore Fidel Ramirez said. “It was something with shrimp and some other meat on a stick. I didn’t know what it was going to be like, but I had it. It was really good!”

Some of the various food items that were served were Vietnamese spring rolls, Japanese udon noodles, Japanese nigiri fish, Cajun po’ boy sandwiches, Mexican horchata drink, and Polish cookies.

“My favorite part of the event is to watch the students work together and then have fun together,” said Buelow. “We had 17 different tables of food. It was so neat to see the students work so hard in the kitchen preparing their dishes, and then enjoy the other ethnic dishes prepared by their friends. Even our head chef helped some groups prepare their dishes, and it was great to see the staff and students work so closely together.”

St. Lawrence Seminary High School is a private, Catholic, sevenday residential school for young men, founded in 1860 by Capuchin Franciscans. It is a community and institution that exists to promote, foster, and live principles proclaimed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and articulated in the Roman Catholic Church. It is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. For more information about the school, please visit or contact (920) 753.7522.

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