Wrap up of FON 2020

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Festival of Nations, an annual celebration of various cultures in Townsend Harris High School’s student body, allows Harrisites to immerse themselves in THHS’s cultural and friendly communities. After months of choreography, practice, and rehearsal, this year’s FON has finally come to a close. Students reflected on both the struggles and successes of this year’s performances. 

A participant of KFON and Chinese Modern, freshman Brian Hsu, “joined [at first] because several upperclassmen said it’s a must in Townsend [and plans to] join again next year and suggests everyone else join too.” After participating in FON, Brain remarked that it was “a unique and fun experience [which] showcased a lot of student’s culture and talents.”

A member of both KFON and Chinese Ribbon, sophomore Crystal Lin also plans to join FON again next year and explained,  “[Although FON] was very chaotic, it was still fun to spend time with my friends.”

Junior Charlene Lee, who participated in Filipino FON and KFON, said, “Every year, FON is always super enjoyable, and it’s great to see everyone’s hard work come together. The excitement of standing behind a closed curtain is always thrilling, and I’m definitely excited to join next year as a senior, to take on even more dances.”

Bollywood and Classical Indian participant sophomore Julia Jinu, described, “I liked the idea of dancing for an audience since I went to dance classes when I was younger. I love FON since I was able to enjoy time with friends and make new ones. I love seeing the dances and costumes of other cultures.”

Assistant Principal of Organization, Health and Physical Education Ellen Fee added, “By joining a FON, you become a part of a larger cultural story, and widens your world view.” As an organizer of the event, Ms. Fee continued, “FON has expanded to over 650 performers, but still ran very smoothly, thanks to staff, student leaders, and performers that helped make it such a great success.”

Junior and leader of KFON Vivian Chen said, “It was time-consuming, but I enjoyed every moment because of the amazing people I met and the new relationships I made. You might complain about certain things during the process but after FON is over, you can’t help but feel nostalgic for the lively, cooperative, and amiable atmosphere.” 

“Being a leader was stressful… as there were so many ups and downs throughout the whole process. However, seeing your music, choreography and your fellow members on stage makes it worth it in the end,” reflected Chinese Ribbon leader and senior Sandy Wong. “I think the part that makes it worth it is when people come up to me afterward and tell me they had fun and that I helped make their FON experience memorable because having fun is the most important part.”

A new addition to this year’s FON format was the inclusion of a fourth performance which took place on Friday, February 28 at three o’clock. Performers such as sophomore Alyssa Figueroa felt the show was unnecessary since “not many people came to see it, especially because many parents were still working.” As a member of Chinese Ribbon FON, Alyssa viewed the show as “more of a dress rehearsal.” Senior Nancy Lin agreed, “this show was a nice way to test out all of the dances and practice.” 

Sophomore Yang Shen attended the Friday afternoon show. He reasoned, “The Friday afternoon show is only convenient for Townsend kids because students from other schools would not be able to see it since their classes end at around the same time the show starts.” He continued, “I wouldn’t want to see the show this specific time again because the audience itself was not the best and it seemed like the later performances were better.” 

Many students are already looking forward to next year’s FON season. Sandy explained “future leaders work with your fellow leaders. None of it would be possible without their input and contributions along the way, despite us having disagreements sometimes.” And to “future members: despite the stress of learning dances sometimes, remember that it’s about having fun!”

In the end, Vivian urged everyone “to enjoy the moment. Don’t worry about whether you can dance or not. FON is more about promoting interactions and forming tighter relationships than making a dance competition team.”