FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - Over 250 parents, students and staff gathered Saturday night to celebrate Central Jersey College Prep’s inaugural International Day Celebration in the school's auditorium.
“In the future we would like to do more and more events for CJCP, hopefully we’ll be in the new building next year and we’ll have more space so we could accommodate more events more people at CJCP,” PTSO president Viji Venkateshan said.
The celebration was sponsored by local businesses, and put together by volunteers from the PTSO, staff, and led by the students.
CJCP student Faith Hubbard led the crowd in singing the National Anthem, and was followed by a reading of the New Colossus by students Rowan Mack and Emily Schneider. The New Colossus is a sonnet written by poet Emma Lazarus in 1883 to raise money to help with the construction of part of the Statue of Liberty. It is engraved on a bronze plague inside the Statue of Liberty's pedestal's lower level.
Part of the New Colossus reads: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
During the celebration attendees were treated to songs, dance routines, story telling/readings, and poems from students representing the different nationalities at CJCP. Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Korean, African, and Spanish cultures were highlighted during the celebration.
The Turkish presentation featured a folk dance called the Zeybek “Harmandali” which is a dance that symbolizes courage and honor in Turkish culture. During the India portion of the celebration students expressed many of the holidays celebrated in the Indian culture such as Diwali.
High School and Elementary students led a reading of the story of the monster Nian (Year), that is said to attack people on or around the Chinese New Year, according to mythology. During the Korean presentation students Leianni Wong, Gloria Salgado-Gutierrez, and Lyla Bugarin treated the audience to a modern dance routine.
The African heritage portion of the celebration was highlighted by a folktale by storyteller "Aunt Sister" telling the history of African Americans and how the use of dance is a way of expression. Spanish culture was celebrated through dance, spoken word, and a duet by students Rashmi Singh and Reynaldo Perez.
The celebration was closed by students of CJCP getting on stage to sing “We Are The World” which can be seen below:
At the conclusion of the show all in attendance were invited to enjoy food samples and cultural displays prepared by volunteer parents, teachers and students in the cafeteria.
“I thought tonight came together very well, the most important thing is the kids were so excited to get in front of everyone and represent the many different cultures that America has and they enjoyed it they were joyful, that is what really matters to me,” Makeda Breedy-Fryson PTSO member said.
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