International Night Takes to Stage for College Hopefuls
Oyster Bay High School’s International Night Celebration went around the world on stage as students, staff and local dance troupes performed cultural music and dance routines, and then invited guests to the cafeteria for a bountiful buffet of international cuisine.
The evening, coordinated by the Department of Languages Other than English (LOTE) and English as a New Language (ENL), is an annual fundraiser for the Sal Pipitone ENL Scholarship Fund, which helps deserving ENL seniors attend college. Sal Pipitone was a beloved teacher and administrator at Oyster Bay High School who was part of the International Night Celebration every year. This year, the event raised nearly $800, thanks to the support of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich community.
The show opened with sophomore Grace Scamell as French heroine Joan of Arc presenting an oration in French; next was Ms. Paula Luzzi’s Spanish class singing El Rock de las Capitales while displaying flags from numerous Latin countries. They were followed by sophomore Joshua Gomez who played The Entertainer on piano. Next were high school students Grace Barrios, Elisia Gallo, Yianni Leandrou, Michael Panella, John Vespe, Carley Doyle and Bridget Zahradnick, who took to the stage in cowboy hats and ukuleles and sang, I’m Yours.
The next performer, sophomore Ryoma Hattori had us feeling like we were listening to a concert at Carnegie Hall. The gifted violinist presented a mesmerizing performance of Tchaikovsky Violin Concert No.1-No 2.
Musical talent kept flowing with Bella Ballone singing, I’ll Never Love Again, Jaiya Chetram playing the piano and singing, There’s Nothing Holding Me Back, and older sister Arianna, playing the piano and belting out Shallow as the audience cheered for them.
Latin dancing, from salsa to the tango, were featured by ENL teacher Ms. Sara Duque-Cuniglio and the Sunrise Latin Dance Troupe, which performed to Bachata-Lejos. Students Fernanda Duran, Valentina Fuentealba, Juliana Sorto and Ludys Sierra incorporated movements with their flowing, ruffled skirts and Latin flags as they performed to La Gozadera. Guest dancers Mr. Dragan Ranitovic and Ms. Olga McGuire glided on stage to Argentine Vals.
Ms. Duque-Cuniglio and Mr. Dragan Ranitovic showcased the intricate footwork of the tango as they danced to Santa Maria and the Rhythmology’s Mambosar Team got the crowd going with a spicy salsa routine to El Swing.
After the show, the audience delighted their senses by sampling an array of worldly delights cooked by students, which ranged from empanadas, Swedish meatballs, Irish soda bread, Arroz Amarillo, Pastelitos de Guayaba (a Cuban puff pastry), Italian pasta and sauce, flan, and many more. An assortment of items, including winter hats from Peru and tote bags (mochilas) and jewelry from Colombia, were also on display for purchase. Mr. Ranitovic was also on hand to provide tango lessons.
The evening, which took about two months to plan, “was made possible with the unique vision and assistance of the International Club Advisors Ms. Fanny Diaz and Ms. Jenny Alvarado and their club officers,” said Ms. Liliana Policano, the District’s Languages Other Than English (LOTE) and English as a New Language (ENL) Supervisor. Ms. Policano, who addressed the audience at the top of the show, thanked administrators, the Board of Education, parents, students and staff for coming out and supporting the event, and extended special gratitude to the performers for sharing their talent for the cause. Thanks also went out to senior Kevin Hart, the evening’s host, sophomore Julia Cutajar for working the lighting, and Mr. Glen Davis for his assistance with sound. Special thanks also went to Mrs. Moriah Paredes, co-president of the PTSA, for the PTSA’s assistance in sponsoring the Rhythmology Dance Team and other dancers, and to security and custodial staff for their help with the event.