The FON-nancial situation: how budgets are determined

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TOWNSEND HARRIS’S Festival Of Nations (FON) is an annual performance celebrating cultural diversity and highlighting the various backgrounds that make up the school community. FON is one of the few THHS extracurriculars that involves a large portion of the student population.

Given the vast amount of cultures represented in FON by its numerous participants,  some question the school’s ability to fund the festival. According to Assistant Principal of Organization, Health, and Physical Education Ellen Fee, “We’re at the very beginning of FON, so we haven’t talked to anybody about budgets yet. I assume that we’re going to do something similar to last year, which is giving five dollars per person in each FON.” This brings the issue back to size. “Someone who has fifteen kids in their group would get $75 towards the costumes they choose. Everyone chips in: If you’re in FON, there’s an understanding that you’re going to help pay [for your costume].”

Members of Filipino FON generally make T-shirts that they keep when FON is over, and thus the school does not pay for them, but the school plans to offset the cost to fairly support each FON. This does, however, suggest that members of a smaller FON will have to chip in more than members of a larger FON.

Senior Janine Lim gave a different perspective on coming up with the money for costumes. She said, “I never really knew we had a FON budget because a lot of the FONs do fundraising instead. A lot of FONs in previous years did fundraising, so hopefully we’ll also be able to have a bake sale or something along those lines with food.” Fundraising is an effective way to come up with money for costumes. Students often contribute to THHS bake sales, which end up being fairly successful.

Several groups, such as Filipino and Chinese Ribbon FON are widely occupied and known, while other newer and smaller FONs work harder to make a larger impact on the audience. French FON is a new addition to the lineup this year, and its leaders are ecstatic to see their dancers up on the stage next month. Sophomore Raeanne Edwards, one of the directors of French FON,  said, “Teaching the dances so far, I already love the girls; everyone is so kind and respectful, which makes my job a lot easier.”

When asked about plans for raising money, a second leader of French FON, sophomore Diana Jadunandan, stated, “Raising money will probably [involve having] a bake sale, and the costumes will be about five dollars for two dances. There will be a maximum of two or three costumes, most being things people already have.” Another leader of French FON, Sophomore Myrna Vilma, said, “I expect the show to be a success because the dances are already looking good so early in practices.”

The results of creative fundraising efforts of FON participants will be showcased to the THHS community at the end of this February.