Fun and Diversity: Behind the Scenes of the International Festival

Francis Lewis students diligently prepared for the International Festival held on Friday, June 2 as participants took initiative to lead and choreograph dances collaboratively. A variety of clubs, including Dance Club, SASA Club, and K-pop Club, practiced their unique performances to celebrate the ethnic backgrounds that make up the Francis Lewis community. The International Night will enhance the exposure of distinct cultures and allow inclusiveness amongst the guests and school community.

“It’s an event I feel really represents our school and the diversity,” dance teacher Ms. Mimbella said. “I feel it’s a great event to learn about others and their cultural interest. I enjoy the food very much. I also love seeing all the different costumes and people really celebrating their origins.”

The advisor of the South Asian Student Association and an alumni of Francis Lewis, Ms. Ramkishun, reminisces about her past experience of the event and honors the principles that it embodies.

“As a former graduate from Francis Lewis, I participated in the International Festival every year and that was the one thing I always looked forward to as a student,” math teacher Ms. Ramkishun said. “I feel so honored to be able to give back to the community that contributed so much to my high school career. We’re lucky to be part of a school that is so diverse ethnically and so it’s a great way to showcase all the cultures that make up Francis Lewis.”

Caribbean Gals, a coastal dance performance, incorporates vibrant music and fusion of styles.

Research shows that celebrating ethnicities develop unity and educate individuals to broaden their respect towards the distinct cultures present around the world. 

“I think through these cultural events specifically diversity is being represented and I do think bringing this back will increase the knowledge and level of diversity being exposed in Francis Lewis,” senior Shivani Panchal said. 

Ms. Mimbella is looking forward to presenting performances that showcase Francis Lewis’s diversity from our student’s families that pass on “wonderful experiences.”

“I think it’s really important for us to share our culture and show how proud we are of our nationalities and our family that passes on these wonderful experiences,” Ms. Mimbella said. 

Teachers hold back their position and involve students to engage together for the creation of cultural movements.

“I just facilitate the practices and if they need any advice like choreographing or formations, I try to help from an outward perspective,” Ms. Ramkishun said. “I really like to leave it up to the hands of the students because they are so talented and they have brighter ideas than I would even have.”


Student exposure to various cultures can improve creative performance and physiological mechanisms as evident in studies.

“It’s always important to try to represent as many cultures that we have here as possible so we don’t want just Southeast Asian dancers or singers or musicians but students from all over the world to contribute to this would be great,” Ms. Ramkishun said.

Research demonstrates that learning new dance styles from various cultures can expand appreciation for dance. 

“An addition that I would like incorporated at the event would be to have a dance lesson teaching people different dance moves from different cultures,” junior Sian Baskerville said.

An article highlights that traditional clothing, worn by performers, embellishes specific characteristics to display cultural identity.

“Our performance will consist of us wearing traditional outfits, which are often colorful, heavy and full of jewelry and makeup,” Panchal said. “The importance of wearing our traditional clothing is to show that our culture is mainly surrounded by color and just festivals. So having this represents where we are from and to be proud of being South Asian.”

Junior dancer Sian Baskerville assists in choreographing for the Caribbean performance despite being from a different ethnic background.

“I feel happy because I really like this dance,” Baskerville said. “I contributed to putting in some moves myself so it makes it more special. I try my best because I haven’t done this style before, but in my own way, I try to represent the Caribbean as closely as I can.”

The International Festival is a big representation of the diversity at Francis Lewis as there are not many school events that fully represent all cultures. Accordingly, students eagerly look forward to experiencing this night of inclusiveness. 

“I feel very happy that I’m able to represent my culture in a way that I’m not usually able to showcase it in school,” Panchal said. “So it just makes me feel proud to be who I am and what culture I am in.”