FON kicks off 2020

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With the start of December came one of the most highly anticipated events at Townsend Harris High School: the Festival of Nations (FON). On December 11, the FON kickoff rally was held in an auditorium filled with eager students awaiting the annual showcasing of FON groups before signing up to groups they would like to join. 

The kickoff began with an overview of the rules of FON: 9th, 10th, & 11th grade students can participate in up to 2 performance groups, and 12th grade students can join up to 4 performance groups. Leaders were reminded that no practice can occur without adult supervision. 

New information was also presented at the kickoff rally. This year’s FON will consist of four performances, rather than three as there were in previous years: February 28 at 3 pm and 7 pm, and February 29 at 2 pm and 6 pm. Sophomore Lauren Choi commented, “I was really surprised… Last year there were three performances so I think having one more performance on Friday isn’t that bad. Honestly, I would love to perform one more time and people who couldn’t get tickets or couldn’t make it would have a chance to watch the show.” 

Many students agree with this statement and are ecstatic to begin another FON season. Faye Shemper, a leader of Hispanic FON, said, “ I joined Hispanic FON [during my] sophomore year [and] it quickly became my favorite event of the year. It’s just a good time.” Regarding the recent increase in performances, she stated, “I haven’t given it a lot of thought, honestly. My biggest hope is that the energy stays alive throughout all four shows.”

Following this announcement, each group of leaders introduced their respective FONs by mentioning their group name, leaders, dances, and practice days.

There were also new groups presented, including Balkan, Irish, Japanese, and Slavic FONs. Junior Weiye Yasen, founder of Irish FON, mentioned, “I have been interested in Irish dancing for a really long time, and I used to take tap… when I came to THHS, I was really excited to do Irish FON, but there wasn’t one.” Weiya decided that this year would be the year to change this. “I’m so excited.”

During the kickoff, FON leaders encouraged students from all grades to join new FONs, regardless of prior dance experience. Carribean FON leaders Cailin Bell and Ashley Facey assured, “We do different dances of the Carribean, [appealing to the] larger Carribean population in this school, but it’s really for anyone to have fun.”

Photo courtesy of Matthew Neil

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