Heritage Night Displays the Cultural Diversity of Falls Church

Joe Kratz, Managing Editor

In traditional, annual fashion, mid-February saw one of Falls Church High School’s proudest characteristics on display for the entirety of the student population—our diversity.
Heritage Night, a yearly event hosted by our very own Leadership students, was an opportunity for the multitude of nationalities, ethnicities, and races, to showcase and express their various cultural and societal distinguishing characteristics. They might choose to manifest this through a dance, vocalize it in a song, or verbalize it in a personal, spoken-word piece. Regardless of the chosen medium, students took to the stage to proudly exhibit their identity.
Many of the students took to the stage solo, while others, mainly dance troupes, sought the spotlight as crews. Just around half of the total performances were dances. These groups included The Hung Vuong Boy Scout Lion Dance Group from Troop 612, who were the opening preshow performance. Other Asian-heritage dance groups included the Vietnamese Student Association, Daydream D, and the Asian Student Association.
Another repeated dance theme was hip-hop, performed by more than one group. There was Aqsa Riaz (12), a self-taught dancer, who performed a Bollywood-inspired routine, as well as a West African dance by Nation 5, who are a collection of four students, and represent multiple cultural backgrounds.
Dance was not all that was showcased. There was a duet by the talented Joseph Day (10) and Ashoneya Williams (10), who sang “Powerful” by the cast of the TV show “Empire.” Another vocal performance was by Olivia Rogers (12), with her performance of “Bennie and the Jets,” a song originally sung by Elton John.
Pages and pages of this newspaper could be devoted to the skills, talents, and personalities on display at Heritage Night, but that alone is not what makes Heritage Night so special. The individuality of Heritage Night resides in the larger meaning behind the gathering. The singularity and uniqueness of the night resides in the symbolism and larger meaning behind the performance. Heritage Night allows one of Virginia’s most diverse schools to celebrate just that—its diversity of cultures, traditions, religions, and experiences. Heritage Night embodies all that is good in American society, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly. The modern world exists in a time of unparalleled division and contrast, and Heritage Night is a beautiful example of how it can be overcome.