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Flowery Branch High celebrates culture, cuisine
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Flowery Branch High students gather around a table to sample various international dishes during the school’s Interact Club’s annual International Day.

It is Flowery Branch High School’s first year as a global studies charter school.

Its embrace of international culture and cuisine was seen throughout the school Thursday in the form of food, games, music and dance.

A small bookshelf museum was on display. It included historical items such as a piece of the Berlin Wall and a colorful replica of a Chinese headdress.

International Day crowds gathered in line as food was served by Interact Club members in blue T-Shirts with the Interact logo.

The spicy scents lingered over the cafeteria as tables filled with hungry and curious clientele.

Interact member Imani Dillon, 17, scooped out a Jamaican delicacy: white rice with curried chicken. She sees physical therapy in her future, but “I want to learn about different cultures and do community service,” she said.

In the middle of the feast, one round table was dressed with unusual culinary delights. Students walked away with the expression of nausea, their heads shaking no.

This odd station earned guests a certificate of merit for partaking in the first “Bizarre Food Challenge.”

A bowl full of dried crickets, escargot baked in a pie, Romanoff caviar on a cocktail biscuit and slimy chicken gizzards attracted students to take a chance and try something new.

“It tasted weird,” said Karianna Anselmo, 17, junior, along with Brian DeLeon-Vargas, 16, sophomore, who tried a dried cricket.

Not far from the food stations, long tables held display boards informing guests of smaller countries such as Guyana, Vietnam, and Iraq, as well as larger countries such as Brazil, Australia and South Korea.

Down the hallways, students participated in popular games such as tic-tac-toe, Twister and bowling but within the realm of other languages and non-American cultures.

As the evening proceeded, students and guests lingered in the school’s theater for a popular sound at Flowery Branch High School — the Sheer Panic Steel Drum Band.

According to the International Day brochure, today’s steel drums were invented on the island of Trinidad around World War II. Yet the roots can be traced to African slaves as early as the 16th century.

At first, various lengths of bamboo sticks produced the smooth, gentle tones of steel drums made from dustbins and tin pans. Later, mallets evolved to be the hammer of choice, along with high-standard steel drums.

Noah Dickson, 16, sophomore, started learning to play steel drums as a freshman.

“It gives off a vibe ... it is as unique as a steel drum,” Dickson said. He performs on a double tenor steel drum.

“It is the higher tones,” he said. He also plays the trombone.

His studies include Spanish I, and he is on track for honor society Spanish.

Various singers from foreign language classes performed, and Lupita Sosa’s “Mexican Dances” took the stage. A Chinese yo-yo demonstration was also an audience favorite.

“We have a better feel about the diversity in our own community this year,” said Flowery Branch High teacher Rachel Trim.

The Interact Club works alongside the South Hall Rotary Club.