Graceland students from around the world took the stage last Saturday for “International Night,” an annual event showcasing the talents of Graceland’s diverse student body.
The night began with the traditional Parade of Countries, where students from around the world marched into the Shaw Family Auditorium and set up flags representing the birth countries of Graceland’s student body. With 17 percent of Graceland’s student population hailing from other nations, the stage was transformed into an explosion of color, with dozens of flags proudly displayed. International Club officers President Omar Elakbawy (Egypt), Vice President Donjeta Ferati (Serbia) and Business Manager Lina Barriga Barrera (Colombia), hosted the event, welcoming attendees and introducing the night’s performances.
Many of the night’s talent acts revolved around international song and dance. Paloma Ortiz (Puerto Rico) and Kurahei Bennett (Tahiti) came together to perform a modern Tahitian dance, while Anna Cleland-Leighton (USA) performed a Scottish Highland dance that got the crowd cheering. Perhaps the crowd favorite was a steamy salsa dance between Kathy Rodriguez (Colombia) and Franyer Briceno (Venezuela).
Vocal performances included everything from a cover of the popular Adele song, “Rolling in the Deep,” to an original rap. Laryssa Vachon (Canada) and Meghan Meeks (USA) gave a playful performance of “Call Your Girlfriend,” clapping along and drumming cans on a table to the beat. A number of students performed song s in other languages, including Ani Babajanya (Armenia) and Patrick Minor (USA) who united for a remarkable performance of “The Red Flower of the Spring.”
The night was sprinkled with some talents outside the realms of song and dance, including an original slam poem “The Revolution will not be Televised” by Karima Burns (USA), which sent chills up audience members’ spines.
The night concluded by International Club seniors celebrating their journey at Graceland. They took turns passing around the microphone and reflecting back on their years at Graceland.
“I’m very thankful to be a part of the Graceland community. I’m excited to bring all of my experiences and knowledge back home,” said Tatiana Varela Fontecha (Colombia).
Cydney Stables, a sophomore at Graceland University, is competing in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) national competition for the Agricultural Proficiency Award in Agricultural Sales – Entrepreneurship and is one of four people in the nation to be nominated for this honor.
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