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Written by Gustavo Delgado and Ilyssa Delos Reyes
FON allows students to unite to create a performance that best describes their culture. For some, this year’s FON represented the start of several years at Townsend Harris High School and left many people excited for what is to come in the future. For others, this was a bright note in the final chapters of high school life, using the wild costumes, extravagant dances, and interesting mixes to create a lasting memory.
When asked why she participated in FON, freshman Shirley Xiong described how “welcoming everyone is and how much diversity there is [at THHS].” After participating in the Filipino FON, Pure Manila , she elaborates, “I felt like I could join anything and everyone would welcome me. I also liked how there were so many options to choose from and you didn’t have to be a certain ethnicity to join a certain FON.”
Sophomore Aleksandra Hubczak, a participant in Polish FON, seconds this by saying how “the single best part of FON was the people [she] got to spend time with on and off stage, [and] it wouldn’t have had been as amazing as it was without them.”
FON is meant to allow students to experience every culture that is a part of the school’s diverse student body. It also allows students to take on new challenges such as learning dances and becoming a FON leader.
HOTwaiian (Hawaiian) leader Carmela Lopez did not let being an underclassmen prevent her from leading. She remarks, “Being a FON leader for the first time as a sophomore was unexpectedly fun. It was definitely stressful and overwhelming at times, but that was expected from the beginning.”
The leaders, responsible for the choreography, music choices, budgeting and more, carry the large weight of a FON, yet many describe it as being worth the struggle.
Senior Amelia Abobo, leader of the two Filipino FONs, details how “as a member of FON, my favorite part is performing. As a FON leader, the single best part is watching your members perform. The months of preparations, the late school nights, the sacrificed vacations days, and the endless practicing all led up to these three moments. Filipino FON was my baby because I put my heart and soul into it; there is nothing like seeing everything come together at last.”
Amelia, like many FON leaders, finds herself saying goodbye to this event. Seniors who took leadership positions this year made sure to leave their mark on the stage.
Leader of French African FON junior Fiasyo Olowoyo remarks, “I’m most definitely going to miss FON. It was the only show that I got to choreograph this year so I wanted to make sure that I put my all into it.”
The end of one FON leads to the beginning of the next, and this year’s leaders provide some advice for those leading next year.
Chinese Ribbon leader and senior Joan Nieh advises future leaders to “have a good balance of strictness and love.” She explains, “It’s hard, but if the future leaders believe in themselves and work amongst each other they’ll be able to find that balance. The main point is for the members to have fun so it’s important for the leaders to remember that.”
Similarly, Bollywood leader Aneesha Vinayek tells next year’s leaders, “Pretend like FON is next week, don’t put things off, thinking you have plenty of time because time really flies. Start your choreography early because it takes a lot of time. Be prepared to have to make tough choices such as choosing songs, cutting people and giving spots.”
However, this does not mean the end for the relationship seniors have with FON. Many alumni find themselves returning to help out and attend the show.
Alumni Parina Kay, Graduate of the Class of 2015, describes, “When I saw this year’s FON, it reminded me of all the hard work and time I spent outside of school choreographing and practicing for my own FON. It also reminded me of the fun that I had working with my fellow seniors and underclassmen.”
Audience member Jenneen Sambour ultimately notes, “It seemed like everyone was included in every dance. The kids looked like they had a wonderful time performing and were having fun. The dances were [also] well choreographed and the costumes looked amazing.”