"What we need to do is learn to respect and embrace our differences until our differences don't make a difference" is a quote by Yolanda King, human rights activist and eldest daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pleasant Valley School District's staff, students, parents, family, friends and members of the community celebrated the 10th annual "A Night of Unity" in the high school gym.

It was a night that recognized all the different cultures that make up our world and the richness each brings to the community in which we live. "A Night of Unity" did that through live performances, art displays, food, and exhibits by local cultural and service organizations.

The PVMS chorus began the evening with the national anthem followed by performances by: Sign Language Club; Mikayla's Voice; McElligott School of Irish Dance; Cerbone Family & Friends; Pocono Highland Dancers; Ariel McAphee; PV Hip Hop Dance Team; Jesse Harris Boxing/Punch Gym demo; and Don Wuebber Dance Group.

Jonah Talbott entertained in the lobby on his mountain dulcimer.

There was also a presentation from the district's English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

The exhibits featured were: PV Soccer; RSVP; Pleasant Valley Presbyterian Church; Unity Coalition of the Poconos; Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts; Organ Tissue Donation; Pocono Inclusion; The ReDCo Group; Western Pocono Lions Club; Pocono Alliance; Stroudsburg Little Bethel Historical Society; Western Pocono Community Library; Order Sons of Italy in American West End Lodge 2725; Mr. Farkas and Mrs. Kinsey's Christmas Around the World projects featuring Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Ireland; Key Club; West End Kiwanis; PVMS PTO; PV Dance Team; Penn State Cooperative Extension; Graphic Novel Society; Italian-American Heritage Club of Monroe County; Eldred Township Historical Society featuring Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and homemade filling; Grundsow Lodge Sexa #6, also representing Pennsylvania Dutch heritage; Mikayla's Voice; McElligott School of Irish Dance; Operation: Touch of Home; Golden Generation Retreat Center; and Western Pocono Lioness.

Barb Cortese's art students had a colorful display of cultural rugs and digital photographs.

The PVMS Diversity Team served up delicious pierogies, nachos and other tasty delights.

In the old gym, there were many displays that featured "A Walk Through Time," a representation of 50 years of PV history.

Ten years ago, PVSD's Diversity Task Force was formed, made up of faculty, administration, students, parents and community members. The committee meets on a monthly basis during the school year to discuss relevant issues and to plan ways to promote the talents of the district's diverse population.

The work of the Task Force has resulted in proactive plans for preventing many problems, revision of curriculum where necessary, discussions on issues of the day, student and staff programs, and the "A Night of Unity" community program.

Members of the Task Force have worked very hard to make a good school district even better and believe in the words from the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world..."

If interested in serving on the Task Force, contact Dr. Douglas C. Arnold, superintendent, at (570) 402-1000, ext. 1205.