DENVILLE, NJ-- On Thursday evening, May 12, the ExPO students at Valleyview Middle School held their second annual International Night. Over 250 guests learned about the culture and indulged in the cuisine of over sixteen showcased countries.
From the homemade Polish pierogies and Italian cavatelli to the native ceviche of Peru and samosas of India, bellies were filled with delicious ethnic edibles. Attendees tried their hand at Chinese calligraphy and had the opportunity to get a henna tattoo. America's Can Toss, Greece's Pin the Lightning Bolt on Zeus, Germany's Bow and Arrow Challenge, Italy's Pasta Making Lesson, and Sweden's Magnetic Fishing Fun were only a few of the festive and cultural games enjoyed throughout the evening. Kids and adults of all ages partook in the activities and had a chance to win prizes.
Some of the children in the ExPO program add their nationality to the mix. For seventh grader, Michelle Harnisch, the ExPO was a chance to help break the stigma of Switzerland. Charnis' is a first generation American.
"I hope people come tonight and learn that Switzerland isn't all about cheese and chocolate," Harnisch said.
ExPO teacher, Marla Jaffe, said, "These children have been working tirelessly for months, fastidiously researching their chosen countries and the cultures within them. The bar was set high, and they completely towered over it,"
$530 was raised in total, with half of the proceeds going to the Red Nose campaign, which helps lift children out of poverty. Guests had a chance to win concert raffle tickets, as well as walk away with jackpot money from the 50/50.
ExPO eighth grader and class valedictorian, Rohan Amin, said, "It was really an enlightening experience to partake in International Night. You get to understand a deeper meaning of the country and get a feel for its culture, rather than just appreciate the popular landmarks and attractions,"
At the end of the evening, the students congregated in the middle of the gym, glow sticks in hand, and sang We Are the World. It was a meaningful and emotional end to a night that, as seventh grader, Melinda Reed, announced, "was about unity, culture, and exposing ourselves to what lies beyond the Atlantic and Pacific."