A Night Around the World

2016 IB International Festival

Bethany Burtch and Yusuf Goulmamine donned clothing native to Algerian culture in the fashion show.

On Thursday, March 24, Midlothian High School’s International Baccalaureate Program hosted the 2016 International Festival. Led by seniors Virginia Boulos, Bethany Burtch, and Katheryn Osmond, the IF’s purpose is to celebrate the various cultures that Midlo students come from through means of art and expression.

The preparation for the event took months of planning, communication, and organizing with several different students, restaurants, and parents.  “The most difficult part of the preparation process was probably trying to coordinate with so many people, especially for the fashion show. We had to find people who had outfits, people who could donate some, and people who were willing to wear them on stage,” said Boulos. I think planning events that involve so many people is always complicated, but I think it went really well, and I’m really glad I was a part of the team who made it happen.”

The night began with an impressive spread of food from a myriad of countries, including sushi from Japan, baklava from Greece, barbacoa from México, and honey sesame cookies from Italy.

Promptly at 7 pm, the show began with the emcee of the night, senior Randy Hahn, warmly welcoming the audience with a couple of jokes about the 2016 Presidential Election and introducing the first performance of the night: a cultural fashion show, representing multiple countries and regions, including: Algeria, Bangladesh, South Africa, India, and Vietnam.

After the fashion show, junior Mariha Junaid, describing the significance of her headscarf in an original oration entitled A Crown of a Different Kind, Junaid left the audience in awe, as she detailed the prominent place her headscarf has taken in her personal growth and  realization of her self-worth. Next, senior Thienson Nguyen sang a beautiful rendition of an upbeat, melodious Vietnamese song, complemented by Nguyen’s kind and welcoming presence onstage. After Nguyen’s performance, audience members traveled to India next, in which several girls from Cosby High School performed a Bollywood melody of recent hits, like Deewani Mastani and Ghagra.

Subsequent to the Bollywood performance, sophomore Bethany Crisp took to the piano, playing a sophisticated piece that seemed to recount a dramatic tale. Following Crisp’s flawless piano playing was a line dance performance, a country-western choreographed dance in which dancers line up in a row. The audience clapped along to the performance, as the girls slid from side to side and stamped their country boots on the stage. The night’s performance then came to an end with one final singing and dancing performance. In her singing performance, senior Neha Kulkarni sang her rendition of Bahara, a light, romantic Hindi song welcoming the season of spring. Then, the KPOP  group left the audience enthralled with its finale, dancing through several different upbeat stunningly choreographed Korean songs that oozed energy. 

After the night’s events, the three student coordinators reflected upon the event.

I think it went really well. We had a pretty good turnout, and it ran rather smoothly. I’m very proud of the work that Katheryn, Virginia, and I put in for the festival, and I think it was a success overall,” said Burtch. “It’s a little bit sad because it was one of our last hurrahs as seniors in the IB program, but it’s definitely gotten me excited for new opportunities to broaden my horizons at university.”

Osmond agreed, also mentioning some parts of the process that can be improved.

“I think the most difficult part about the whole process was finding the best way to communicate with people. We initially started with email, but we then found that it was best to talk with classes in person to get more interest. In the future, this event can definitely be improved by putting additional emphasis on communication,” said Osmond.

All in all, however, all student coordinators were impressed by the amount of culture at Midlo and the togetherness of the community as a result of this event.

“It was so interesting to see the great amount of diversity we have in our own school and being given an opportunity to showcase it all,” Boulos.