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Sampling the (non)local flavor
Flowery Branch High students experience international cultures through food and dance
Brenau University student Quing Cao performs a Chinese traditional dance for students at Flowery Branch High during the seventh annual International Day festivities.

Only at Flowery Branch High School will you find Chile adjacent to Germany, which is immediately next door to Jamaica.

No, the school hasn’t rearranged the world. Instead, it was host to an International Day celebration Friday night.

The annual event is organized by Interact, a service organization for 14- to 18-year-olds sponsored by the Rotary Club.

“The purpose of International Day is to celebrate different cultures and experiences, understand and acknowledge cultures represented at our school and foster an expanded view of the world,” said Felecia Doyle, one of the club’s advisers.

More than a hundred students and community members gathered at the school to partake in the event, which included a food tasting and a talent showcase.

Attendees were able to sample a variety of dishes from various countries, including Vietnam, India and Chile.

“When we return from Christmas break, I ask every advisement class to survey their students and tell mewhich students were born outside of the U.S.” Doyle said. “Based on the countries surveyed, my club members prepare dishes from those countries and their native country.

“I also ask volunteers from the French Club, faculty and local restaurants in the area to prepare dishes. El Sombrero (donated) a dish from Mexico this year.”

One student, Katherine Almanzar, decided to bring in a dessert that reflected her Dominican
Republic heritage.

“I brought flan that my mom made,” said Almanzar, a sophomore. “We have it all the time and it’s really good, so I wanted to bring it in to share it with everyone.”

Flan is a baked custard that traditionally has a soft, caramel top.

Other dishes that were available for tasting included noodle stir fry, curry chicken and taquitos.

To provide a more thorough appreciation of international culture, the event also included a dance and performance showcase featuring international acts. Highlights included a traditional Indian dance complete with authentic dress and a poetry recitation in French.

“Each year, International Day gets bigger and better,” said Mark Coleman, the school’s principal. “We have 14 different countries and nationalities represented at our school. We like to celebrate our diversity, but when we walk through (the school’s) doors, we are all Flowery Branch Falcons, no matter what our background.”