International Night

During International Night at Troy Union Elementary, Radhika Shah — a mother and volunteer — paints a henna tattoo on 5th-grader Bia Barato while her daughter, 1st-grader Kairavi, watches.
(photo by Rodney Curtis/School Life Troy)

The food in the Troy Union cafeteria was particularly good Tuesday night.

“I liked that we got to eat different food from other countries and see their cultures,” said student Valeria Miranda.

The school was celebrating International Night with dancing, displays, food and music.

Troy Union students with Bulgarian heritage do one of that country’s traditional dances. (photo by Rodney Curtis/School Life Troy)

“We have 20 countries represented here,” said principal Michael Cottone. “This was completely parent-driven. They came to the PTO and said they’d like to do a night like this. We said ‘that’s great, how can we support you?’”

Co-coordinator and parent Amanda Vizzini agreed. “We had an idea to do an International Night as just a way to bring different cultures together for our small community,” she said.

“I thought it was fun. I liked the different cultures,” said 4th-grader Maria Natcheva.

“I liked the food, the different cultures and the cool activities at each station,” agreed 4th-grader Amira Buzgyov.

2nd-grader Rhea Rebba does an Indian dance. (photo by Rodney Curtis/School Life Troy)

“Tonight’s an excellent event! Everybody’s here, happy, smiling,” said co-coordinator and parent Daniela Natcheva. “This is our first time and I just heard a parent say we should do this every month! It looks like he liked the food.”

A lot of the students concurred.

“I liked all the different stations and the smoothies. I had four mango smoothies! I also tried the vegetable rolls, but they were very spicy,” said 4th-grader Sarah Delia.

“I ate four Chinese casseroles,” said 4th-grader Carolyn Kotwicki.

Parent liason Sue Younan plays a tablah, from Iraq, as children dressed in various culture’s outfits join in.
(photo by Rodney Curtis/School Life Troy)

“The native dress the children are wearing is just extraordinary,” said ESL teacher Caryn Leonard. “The kids look so proud to be sharing their culture with the school.”

“I liked it. I liked all the people who were dressed up and all the cool artifacts they had,” said 4th-grader Phoebe Goble.

Troy-Union students representing cultures from around the world paraded on stage. (photo by Rodney Curtis/School Life Troy)

Along with the food and native dress, students were given a “passport” that they needed to fill out by visiting different countries. When it was completed, they received an inflatable globe.

“I really liked it because they had these globes that are also balls,” said 1st-grader Scarlett Goble.

Students representing many cultures took to the stage during International Night. (photo by Rodney Curtis/School Life Troy)

Some saw globes, others?

“I liked the beachballs,” said pre-schooler Caleb Shakhan.

Even though this was a first-time event for the school, many attendees said they hoped it would become an annual thing.

Parent Gunnar Schlinke repped Germany with a cool hat. (photo by Rodney Curtis/School Life Troy)

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