Travel Around the World at Heritage Night Pre-Show

By Ashley Rodriguez-Peña, Culture Editor

A culinary masterpiece. A fabulous delicacy. Melt-in-your-mouth perfection. It was a long way from home as taste buds were transported to lands far away: Latin America, Thailand, El Salvador, Mexico, Cambodia, Pakistan, Vietnam, China, and India.

On February 15, this year’s annual Heritage Night kicked off with a pre-show in the cafeteria, where community members celebrated students’ heritages with banners and rows of food from all around the world.

A big part of the pre-show was the delicious cuisine provided by Baraco, Glory Days Grill, Cafe Rio, Nando’s, District Dumplings, Choola, Elephant Jumps Thai Restaurant, and more. The food available ranged from traditional Hispanic plates like El Salvadorian pupusas to South Asian meals like Indian, basmati rice. Black Student Union featured jerk chicken and Ethiopian injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture. This was paired with addi, red-orange lentils. Another group, Vietnamese Student Association, served guests rice paper spring rolls filled with shrimp, pork, lettuce, and rice noodles.

Lined up on the outer edges of the room were groups that had their very own booths. To begin, the Class of 2020 featured a horoscope booth. Also, Global Future gathered more donations for its ongoing “Thirst Project” fundraiser by hosting a game called “Guess the Country”. In the South Asian Student Association booth, the newly formed club attracted visitors by selling bindis and offering free South Asian food such as biryani, chicken kabobs, and olivieh salad. SASA also provided Mahammura, a hot pepper dip of Turkish origin.

The pre-show would not have been complete without a large pinata, resembling the one from the online video game, “Fortnite.” Before little kids eagerly hit the pinata for candy, one student thought that the pinata’s success would mirror that of the game’s. “I think it’s going to be a big hit!” said Daniel Nguyen (11).

As the seventh most diverse school in Virginia, our school’s diversity was the highlight of the entire night. Our racial makeup made such a grand celebration possible: 50.19% Hispanic or Latino, 7.01% Black, 18.16% White, and 3.41% Other.

For some students, different ethnicities resonate with them. “It makes me feel inclusive. It just shows how much diversity we have in this community,” says Sally Nguyen (10).

Having lived in Alexandria, Dolly Lebow (11) attended a predominantly white sixth grade class of 115 students, in which only two of them were adopted Chinese and one was half-black, half-white.

“I didn’t really experience any other cultures, and so when I moved to Annandale it was just so awesome,” she said. “I feel really blessed to go to Falls Church because we have that diversity, which raises a really tolerant group of people.”