Students and parents alike are greeted by a flood of music, colors, and culture as they enter the crowded Wilson atrium on the night of Wednesday, April 4. History teachers, sitting at a table by the door, welcome you to International Night and stamp your hand as you take a paper plate and program after paying the $5 entrance fee.
The event is a fundraiser for the Wilson International Studies Program (WISP) academy and the proceeds from the evening are used to offset costs for academy run trips, among other things. It is a celebration of the beautiful cultures from around the world, evident at our very own Wilson High School along with their respective foods, dances, and traditions.
International Night was appreciated by many who attended. “I thought it would be fun to come and I wanted to see the many different cultures that were here,” said sophomore Elijah Hayes Miller. Among the nations represented were China, Israel, Cambodia, Korea, Romania, Macedonia, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Ukraine, Ethiopia, and the Philippines.
The evening gave people from different cultures an opportunity to share their connections to countries around the world with the Wilson community. Sophomore Claire Wigglesworth and her family operated a table for Ethiopia. In December 2016, Wigglesworth’s family adopted her brother, Bekalu, from Ethiopia. She feels that, when taking into account the near 30,000 strong population in DC, Ethiopians are very underrepresented.
WISP head Robert Geremia pointed out that many Wilson students have families who have immigrated from other countries. Geremia greatly appreciated how thoughtful students were while putting together songs and dances, some practicing weeks in advance, preparing for the evening and continuing to work despite a snow day that pushed back the event. Also present was the dance group Carpathia, directed by Wesley Reisser. “As Carpathia, our mission is to share these dances with as many people as possible and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share it with the wonderful young generation that you guys are,” says Assistant Director Lena Galpernia.“We have a shared connection of loving culture and [there really is] a shared experience of dance and celebration, so for some of us it’s a representation of our heritage, but for all of us it’s a celebration of dance and unity.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBERT GEREMIA