International Night Recap


Nahya Pelito, Section Editor

Mouth-watering scents of fine cuisine fill the air. The stage rumbles from dancing feet. Sounds of upbeat, foreign music that you can feel in your chest abound.

On March 7, 2018, the Muslim Student Association (MSA) hosted Vista del Lago High School’s second-annual International Night. Compared to last year’s turnout, three times as many people attended the event. In attendance were several clubs–including the Black Student Union, Gay Straight Alliance, and Dance Club–the foreign language department, AP Human Geography students, teachers, and families.

International Night holds different meanings, unique to everyone. For Lydia Samaniego, a Spanish teacher at Vista, “It means the unity of all mankind. In reality, there’s not much difference between all of us. Hopefully [we can] bridge those gaps”.

While Vista  in a predominantly white community, International Night helps shed light on all the different cultures that on campus.

MSA showcased the richness of cultural diversity through booths representing different ethnicities and religion, dance performances influenced from a variety of foreign countries and an extravagant fashion show filled with Vista’s very own students from a multitude of foreign countries.

This year, the event encompasses more than just cultural diversity awareness. The MSA, along with the other students and teachers who took part in organizing the event, hoped to achieve something more– to bring awareness to the refugee crisis in Syria.

According to Syrian Refugee Crisis, a staggering amount of 4.3 billion dollars is needed in order to provide humanitarian aid for the 6.9 million refugees who have fled to the neighboring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt to hide from the violent attacks of the siege in Eastern Ghouta, Syria. As of January, “more than 11 million Syrians are on the run. Inside Syria, more than 6.1 million people are displaced and 13.1 million are still in need of humanitarian assistance,” an article from Mercy Corps reported.

“We’re hoping to raise over $400 and all the money goes towards Syrian refugees who need money to help with clothing or just safety and support,” said senior Rohil Verma. “We hope a lot of people can benefit from all the money we raise tonight”.

Many people were involved in making International Night possible– Physical Education and Dance teacher, Meggan McCall, ensured that her best dancers created a performance that incorporated different cultures and genres of music. The Spanish and French classes performed live songs accompanied by student guitarists.

“There’s a lot of cultural diversity that I didn’t realize before and it’s kind of cool just seeing everybody’s culture all at once. It’s kind of eye-opening,” said freshman Michael Dias. International Night is just the first step to closing the thick boundaries of cultural barriers. Simply attending the event brings people of all ethnicities to a common ground.

A new addition to International Night was the migration exhibit which included AP Human Geography student’s immigration projects.

The students interviewed an immigrant to learn their journey from leaving something that they’ve known forever and coming to a completely foreign country, looking for new educational or economical opportunities.

Carrie Jackson, AP Human Geography and AP Government and Economics teacher, coordinated the preparations for the whole event.

“Sometimes I think as kids and even as parents there’s such a disconnect. They’re concerned with us just being as great as we can be and they’re investing everything into us, but we don’t necessarily take the time to really learn about them and how difficult it may have been to leave everything they know to come to a new place,” said Jackson.

“From day to day, there’s this pressure for everyone to just conform, to not really stand out. But, this is a night in which there’s actually pride in being different and sharing that difference with everyone,” said Jackson.  

The MSA holds strong values in bringing positive attention to themselves. They wanted people at Vista to know two things: they exist and do positive things through community service and school unification.

“There are so many positive things you can get from knowing individuals that have different experiences than you, that’s a really important part of being compassionate towards others and caring about others and that translates into how we are going to decide to treat each other as well,” said Jackson.

International Night is the path that bridges connections between all cultures at Vista and reminds everyone to be aware and appreciate the diversity of cultures that shape the people of Folsom.