Centennial Celebrates Diversity at WorldFest

Words: Maggie Ju/ Photos: Harshitha Sayini

The CHS National Honor Society and the Dance Honor Society presented WorldFest, a celebration of student and staff diversity, on Thursday, April 12 from 5 to 9 p.m. It was an extremely successful event, and students could be seen throughout the school.

Most students milled around the cafeteria for the first two hours, where clubs set up to sell cultural cuisine. The Pre-Medicine Club offered mango lassi, the National Chinese Honor Society sold fried rice and dumplings, and ramen was available at the Korean American Student Association table.

In the media center, many students gathered to listen to a panel. The speakers included Dr. Calvin Ball, District 2 councilman; Mona Eldadah, co-founder of Next Wave Muslim Initiative; and Neveen Kurtom, chair of the Howard County Commission for Women. They discussed intersectionality, being part of multiple minority or disadvantaged groups.

Another popular activity was making crepes in the culinary classroom, which drew so many people that the strawberries quickly ran out. Latecomers simply piled chocolate sauce and whipped cream onto their crepes until the ingredient supply was exhausted.

The final event of the evening was a series of performances in the auditorium. Performers socialized with others before the show, admiring their decorative clothing. The theatre room, where they prepared, was a spectacle of glittering jewelry and vivid fabrics.

Representing India in the fashion show, freshmen Anushka Parab and Pratulya Chengala said that previous experiences helped them relax.

“I’m wearing modern Indian attire for the fashion show,” Parab said, doing jazz hands. Her bold red and gold apparel rivaled the bright colors of the dancers’ skirts. “I haven’t done anything like this before, but I’ve gone onstage to dance, so I’m not that nervous.”

Dances, set to music ranging from Bollywood to Blackpink, captivated the audience. Other performances had roots in West Africa, China, and Ireland. It wasn’t just physical talent that was highlighted. Centennial students Mallika Kadabha, Sindhoori Mukka, Arya Bhargav, Avni Patel, Amaka Agbim, and Bibiana Phan all choreographed their dances, an exceptional achievement.

There was a fashion show as well, where students displayed their cultural dress as Mr. Stephen Doff explained the origins. Clothing from all around the world was showcased. Nigeria, Iran, and Haiti were only a few of the countries represented.

Freshman Sarika Kapadia flaunted a turquoise Indian lehenga for the fashion show. After the fashion show, she said of her experience onstage, “It was quite scary, but once you get used to it, you realize that you’re in a supportive and cultural community.”

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