BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
Aerospace Science Magnet School in Elmhurst took a flight around the world Monday night during the first annual International Family Night.
The event, organized by teacher Gabriel Cotto, showcased international music, dance, culture and cuisine to an audience of school family and friends.
The program kicked off with a rendition of “America the Beautiful” in Spanish and English. The event was entirely bilingual, with MCs Cotto and Stephanie Dixon announcing the performances and bantering in both languages.
As the classes’ performances began, family members in the packed playground rushed for front row seats at the edge of the basketball court. They were treated to dances from the Dominican Republic, Greece, Colombia and Afghanistan, among many others.
According to Dixon, International Family Night was conceived “in order to promote diversity amongst cultures in our community and most importantly, in our school.”
“Teaching our students about the cultures that exist in the school is a way to bring unity and peace to the world we live in,” Dixon added.
The message that recognizing diversity can create peace was echoed throughout the event.
“We all wish to live in peace,” Cotto said, as three classes rose to perform the song “One Day.”
José, a sixth-grader at IS 127, was in the audience watching his younger sister perform. He said his favorite part of the performance was “when [the students] were dancing, they thought they were birds – they pretended they were flying, dancing in the air.”
Use of these birds was no coincidence. As their dance wrapped up, Dixon turned to Cotto and asked a question that became the theme of the night: “where are we flying to now?”
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JNStrawbridge.