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Behind the scenes of International Night

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The doors of the auditorium are about to open, and there is a crowd of people surrounding the entrance. People are pushing and shoving, the sound of shouting and the rumble of footsteps gets louder as more and more students join the crowd. Suddenly, the heavy doors open, and kids rush through the small opening, not allowing a sliver of space between bodies. In seconds, the hundreds of seats in the auditorium are filled, the dimmed lights revealing smiling faces and waving hands. Then a loud voice booms, echoing throughout the vast room, “Welcome to International Night!” The audience cheers deafeningly, the sound of clapping and shouts overlapping the music that’s beginning to play.
Hayfield hosts many events throughout the year, but most people would say that International Night is by far the most significant. The students in the Student Government Association (SGA) are the ones who plan the special occasion.

“Since International Night requires so much preparation, we actually start planning from Feb. 15,” junior Shannon Tran said. “We begin preparing by splitting up into subgroups. There are groups in charge of the logistics, the talent and fashion show, cultural exposition, as well as the advertisement committees.”

Preparing for this annual night also includes holding the interest meeting and deciding the place and process of where and how things should be held.

Panama

“We had to organize the interest meeting and prompt that, along with ordering decorations and advertising with posters, promotional videos and Twitter announcements for the actual event. It’s pretty difficult to plan because there are so many different parts, so that’s why the SGA has subcommittees to get all of these things planned,” junior Katie Silbermann said.

Along with the SGA doing their part, students who actually want to participate on the night must also go through a specific process in order to be eligible for involvement.

“For participants, we have permission and participation forms that must be signed by the student and their parent. Guests from different schools are allowed to perform–like they were last year–but there’s a guest form that must be signed by them and their school administrator saying that they’ll abide by Hayfield rules and the FCPS Student Rights and Responsibilities,” Tran said.

Along with signing up for their performance, most students must also attend mandatory dress rehearsals in order to be fully prepared. But Tran and many others believes that besides the forms and rehearsals, there is plenty of freedom in the event.

International Night is usually the largest event that Hayfield hosts, and some students would even say it is the most important.

Pakistan

“I usually don’t go school events, but the only one I go to every year is International Night; it’s the only one that’s really important to me,” sophomore Amrin Zaeda said.

So why is International Night so valuable? Some students think that perhaps it is the fact that this night allows for students to realize the various backgrounds of their peers and celebrate them.

“[International  Night] is so important for a school to have because it showcases the diversity of Hayfield, and it also gives students an opportunity to show a side of themselves that’s often ignored,” senior Omnia Abdallah said.

Acknowledging the diversity of Hayfield is crucial because it allows students to realize that they are privileged enough to attend such an open-minded school. Students aren’t limited to make friends with just people with similar background, but instead branch out and befriend peers of a different culture or race than theirs.

“When an event such as this one is promoted and highly anticipated from the students and staff, it encourages students to engage with others that they don’t relate with that much. So if we didn’t have International Night, I don’t think friend groups would be very diverse, and people wouldn’t be as friendly,” sophomore Isha Kamara said.

While International Night is a fantastic idea for students to get in touch with their background and be introduced to different cultures besides their own, people often forget all of the work that is put into this event. While students are cheering and having fun, they should also take time to recognize the hard work the committees went through to make this night possible as it makes the event that much more meaningful and special.

Ghana

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