The making of a FON: The leaders’ preparation and process

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From the week after SING! to the first week of March, fifty-seven Townsend Harris students will be putting their organization, communication, and leadership skills to the test as they lead this year’s twenty eight FON (Festival of Nations) groups.

This year’s FON leaders, chosen by the previous year’s leaders, are in charge of choreographing dances, managing practices, picking and submitting songs, and writing a short blurb for the FON program, all while being mindful of certain requirements: each FON must have between 15 and 50 members and at least 2 must be freshmen, the lyrics must be clean, and leaders must meet several deadlines regarding submission and approval.

Assistant Principal of Organization, Health, and Physical Education Ellen Fee is in charge of FON as a whole. Ms. Fee ensures that each FON is granted fair opportunities to practice and creates all the calendars and deadlines. Communication with her is essential, especially when problems arise. Ms. Fee advised leaders, “Be safe, don’t yell at your peers, have fun, and inspire others.”

This process takes a lot of energy, and it is important that each leader has sufficient organizational skills and is able to manage their time and communicate with both their co-leaders and dancers. Second-year Caribbean FON leader junior Ashley Facey said, “Leading isn’t as scary as it seems, as long as you stay organized and can communicate well with others.  That means listening and being respectful even when there’s a disagreement among members.¨

FON season tends to be a time of stress for many leaders, though the end product makes all of their hard work worth it. American FON leader junior Samantha Lee said, “For me, the hardest part of being a leader right now is having faith in myself. The best part is anticipating what the dances will look like on stage.”

Bollywood FON leader senior Pooja Suganthan added, “The best part about being a leader is that it’s kind of like a reward after all the years you put in during previous FONs. After being a part of Bollywood for so long, it’s nice to be able to bring my own ideas to the table and create our own version of the classic performance.”

Ashley concluded, the most important part of being a FON leader is “[making] sure your dancers are having fun 25/8.”

Come see the result of hard work and dedication from the leaders and their FON groups on March 1 and 2.