Marc Garneau CI was wrapped in a myriad of bright and bold colours on 1 May 2014, as students arrived in traditional clothes, shimmering and glimmering with every step. International show was held from 6 to 8 pm, and over five hundred students, parents, and other family members were present for an evening of loud music, fun, and entertainment. Dinner was served from 8 to 9 pm.
Spearheaded by the members of the International Show Committee, the success of the event was due to the collective effort of approximately forty committee members and one hundred twenty performers. While their meetings began at the end of October, it was not until February that rehearsals began, with continuous rehearsals until the day of the event.
Beginning with a flag parade that incorporated the flags of countries from all over the world, the International Show was comprised of a total of seventeen performances, including songs, poetry, cultural dances, and a fashion show that portrayed the variety of cultures that make MGCI one of the most diverse schools in Toronto.
Though the total amount of money raised is not yet known, Freshtah Akbari, the president of the International Show Committee and Grade 12 student, said that while the limit was three hundred people, there were about five hundred people in attendance by the start of the show. As such, she is hopeful that they will have at least six hundred dollars to donate to Plan Canada.
Plan Canada is an international organization that fights for the rights of children in developing countries and works towards ending global poverty. Its main focus is on improving the lives of children. The organization works towards providing children and their families with the help they require to “break the cycle of poverty and build sustainable solutions for improving their own lives.”
Freshtah felt very strongly towards donating to Plan Canada. “It’s an organization that doesn’t just donate money – they provide communities with the necessities needed to improve their living conditions. Plan Canada helps others by building schools, digging wells, opening health clinics, and buying livestock for communities in need, among other things,” she said.
Aside from making a difference by donating to Plan Canada, the International Show also held a great cultural value for the students of MGCI.
Justina Ilevbare, a Grade 11 student in attendance, was pleased with the show. “I enjoyed the diversity within the international show. There was a lot of focus on a variety of cultural dances, and there was a little bit of every culture so that everyone could fit in,” she said.
Zoya Feza, another Grade 11 student, also shared the same sentiment. She said, “The show actually went better than expected. I believe that especially in our school – a school filled with individuals with a variety of ethnic backgrounds – this show was quite essential in the sense that it united us, regardless of our ethnicities.”
After the seventeen performances in the cafeteria, dinner was served in the gymnasium. The menu consisted of some Afghan specialties, such as mantu and baklava. More common dishes, such as white rice, chow mein, and chicken curry were served as well. Along with the dishes were desserts, such as cheese sticks, cream rolls, fruits, and a crowd favourite – a chocolate fountain.
Some were left unsatisfied due to insufficient amounts of food for everyone who attended. “They should really spend more of their budget on food. Most of it ran out quite quickly, other than desserts, which aren’t that filling. People will have fun during performances, but if most people I talked to are complaining about the food, they’re probably going home half satisfied,” said Barkhaa Talat, a Grade 12 student.
Grade 12 Kristina Akhtari, who was in charge of food, had ordered enough for about four hundred people. However, due to the number of people who bought tickets on the day of the show, the crowd was larger than expected.
Overall, the show went smoothly, with a supportive crowd that cheered and clapped for the variety of performers.
“In all honesty, I thought the show was very successful. We put a lot of hard work into it, with a lot of rehearsals and run throughs, but I was still very nervous about the result. This was really important because of the fact that our school is so diverse. We have people from all over the world – from Pakistan to Afghanistan to Hungary, you name it. At the end, though, I think everyone enjoyed it and it allowed us to build a sense of community,” said Freshtah.
For videos of the evening, visit our Youtube channel.
Photos and videos by Nicholas Vadivelu.