Students celebrate international diversity

Feat_Fashion

By: Patrick Miller

Every year Andrews Academy has a special tradition of holding a celebration to appreciate our cultural diversity. Being a part of a large international university campus makes our students members of a very broad ethnic community. Kids hailing from China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Cuba, Colombia, St. Lucia, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, The Philippines, and many other places walk our school’s halls. Once a year we host an International Appreciation Week and Assembly to celebrate this diversity and make dishes of food that are typical of our cultures.

The students also take part in a fashion show that presents the styles of dress popular in their home countries. There are a variety of internationally themed skits, comedy and otherwise, and some special musical presentations.

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This year’s international day was made especially notable by the appearance of the “Bridge to China Dance Troupe,” a dance group composed of women from China who live in the area. Ms. Chao contacted them and they agreed to come, but would not accept any money as they do not consider themselves a “professional” dance group.

AA_ChineseI’m sure that any student that watched them would beg to differ, as their fan twirling performances were elegantly and beautifully choreographed. Also, when their leader found out that there would be a potluck after the assembly, she insisted on bringing traditional Chinese food for the students and once again would not accept any money for it. Ms. Chao said, “Even after they came they would not stop saying ‘Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for having us!’ and I tried to say ‘No thank YOU for coming!’ but they kept on saying it.”

Also of note was the hysterical act involving Mr. VanDenburgh’s 8:00 newswriting class. Four students, namely, Sandra Mosimbwa, Starr Davis, Ben Gerrans, and Patrick Miller, picked up the AA tradition of having a mock International Newscast. They presented various humorous news stories, supplemented by their ever-ready wit and sharp commentary, and they got the audience laughing in no time.

AA_NewsA crowd favorite was the weather segment of the newscast, which was presented in a video done by Kaily Iwasa and Jessica Newkirk. They pretended to be newscasters of different countries commenting about how the respective climates behind them closely resembled a Michigan winter, which of course they did, as the video was filmed at Camp Au Sable in Grayling, Michigan.

There were several other notable events during the assembly, one of them being another Chinese festival presentation of a choreographed confrontation between a man and a lion. The man dances with the lion, dodging its attacks, and eventually tames it.

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Several Chinese exchange students were involved in the act. There were Seniors Will Wang and Joven Wu manning the elaborate and beautiful lion costume. Other members of the skit were Gary Yang as the lion tamer, and Stella Zhao providing the instrumental accompaniment.

“We all practiced together only a couple of times, but I know that Will and Joven put in a lot of time and effort practicing the movements of the lion,” said Stella when asked about the practice for the skit, “and they watched videos on YouTube to make sure they were doing it right.”

The biggest item of the assembly was the international fashion show, with styles from Jamaica, China, India, Papua New Guinea, and many other places. Ms. Chao made an appearance dressed in her traditional chinese costume, reinforcing the Chinese flair that the assembly had been taking. Also, the Newkirk sisters in their traditional Chilean dresses, as well as the Caballero sisters in Panamanian outfits, elegantly graced the stage with their presence. Two groups represented the American contingent, with Olivia Woodard and Josiah Everett as corporate American business people, and Connor Scott and Jared Goolsby represented the American Wild West in their plaid shirts and cowboy hats. Claudia Applewhite single-handedly represented Japan in her flowery kimono and, after she had traversed the runway, she stopped and sang a song in Japanese for the students. After this the students were dismissed to go and dig in to the feast in the commons.

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