West Celebrates International Week

Futuro Latino club places a bag with props for students to use with the backdrop.

By Alicia Malek, Academics Editor

Throughout the halls of Niles West, vibrant decorations, national flags and beautiful banners hang from the ceiling as West students celebrate International Week from Monday, March 7 through Friday, March 11.

The celebration consisted of hallway decorations, cultural trivia and international dances.

Participating clubs included Futuro Latino, Serbian, Filipino, Hellenic, German, SASA, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French, Black Student Union, Middle Eastern and Croatian. The purpose and activities of these clubs drastically range. Korean club introduces the Korean culture, language and dance while Japanese club enjoys cultural films such as Anime. According to president of Middle Eastern Club Yasmine Carlin, her club not only celebrates their culture, but also “educates the school on current events and history in the Middle East.”

South Asian Student Association (SASA) hosts large events, gathering their community.

“Previously known as Indo-Pak Club, SASA is known for its many huge events, such as our Annual Barbeque, Garba Night, International Night, Holi and SASA Night,” SASA president Ria Patel explained.

Clubs decorated the hallways with flags, pictures, traditions and colors representing their culture. This was a chance to display their culture to the school.

“For international week, our club decided to focus on empowering Middle Eastern women by featuring ten influential Middle Eastern women,” Carlin said.

Middle Eastern club hung posters stating, “Empowering Women” in both English and Arabic.

“We also put up art displaying Middle Eastern women in traditional dress and showing off their strength because they are the heart and soul of the Middle East,” Carlin said. “For our selfie station we used Palestinian Tatreez as our background, which is the embroidery found on traditional Palestinian dresses and at the bottom we placed a quote from a famous Palestinian singer saying, ‘Women in the dress of freedom.'”

Other clubs also added facts about various countries, photos of the scenery and influential natives.

“We enjoyed passing all the beautiful decorations on our way to class, doing the homeroom trivia and looked forward to hearing the different cultural music in the hallways,” Carlin said about the other exhibits.

The finale of the week, the International Festival, which was full of music, dance and fashion shows, began on Friday, March 11 at 4:00 pm. Those who participated in the performance were in the Black Box Theatre, while attendees were able to access the festival through Zoom.

“We will be performing a South Asian chain dance that includes a variety of dance forms, such as Bollywood and Bharatanatyam. We will also be having a fashion show that showcases South Asian fashion!” SASA co-vice president Sarah Chirayil said.

“As the coordinator for the dance, I looked forward to performing on the day of International Night. We worked really hard on this dance, and I wanted to give it our best,” SASA co-vice president Divya Varkey said.

The International Festival featured cultural dances performed by SASA, Korean Club, Filipino Club and Chinese Club along with a SASA fashion show.

“I think it is important that we celebrate all of the various cultures represented at Niles West. Seeing the decorations in the halls brings awareness to the student body that many cultures make up Niles West,” Japanese club sponsor Daniel Gin explained.

“It recognizes cultural clubs at West and allows them to expose themselves to educate others,” SASA Executive Assistant Elizabeth John said. “Most importantly, it is a week for students to come together and celebrate their own individual cultures.”