CCC Festival welcomes guests back on board with open arms


Señora Campbell’s final CCC Fest brings in many donations for the Ukrainian Red Cross, Pick Your Paw Animal Rescue and Allaire Community Farm.

Kaitlin Brice and Kara Gallagher

CHS’s unvarying blue locker pods transformed into the lively streets of Brazil, cobblestone avenues of France and ancient Greek ruins during the 17th annual Cultural Communications Club Festival on Friday, April 10.

Guests were welcomed aboard to tour the world by visiting booths, sampling traditional foods and watching performances that varied from spoken word poetry to Irish dance. By the end of the night, the CCC collected $2,600 to support the Ukrainian Red Cross, Pick Your Paw Animal Rescue and Allaire Community Farm.

CCC council member junior Marina Berger of Marlboro explains the council is responsible for creating the event’s programs, decorations, tickets, organizing food options and staying on top of performers and students representing countries, in order to facilitate the event.

“The process was definitely stressful and overwhelming as the date approached,” Berger said. “But in the end it was really rewarding to see our hard work pay off and seeing everyone else enjoy the effort our club put into it.”

Judging was based on a rubric assessing multiple factors of the country’s overall presentation. These included appearance, food, games, music, group members’ knowledge of the country, traditional outfits, and overall effort. The first place country was Japan, earning $150 in prize money, followed by Cuba and France, respectively.

“The hardest part was putting together our decorations,” Borkenhagen said. “My group had these big screen doors that we put together over the course of weeks that we were worried wouldn’t stand right, but we pulled through in the end.”

CCC advisor and Spanish teacher Sabina Campbell explains that the CCC festival helps those in need and aids CHS volunteers in understanding the importance of giving back.

“The CCC doesn’t keep anything for themselves,” Campbell said. “This year it was Ukraine, and with that the students understand the sense of doing a lot of work to benefit someone else.”

The Ukrainian Red Cross is able to use the funds to help those affected by armed conflict with blood collection, mobilization of volunteers and resources and emergency activities.

“I think it’s a great idea for a fundraiser,” Borkenhagen said. “It’s a great creative opportunity and so many people come together to work on it.”

Along with the freshman Class of 2025, this was also the first time the Class of 2024 experienced the CCC Festival due to COVID-19, leaving the underclassmen amazed by the above-and-beyond effort put in by groups.

“As a freshman, it was pretty cool to see everyone’s booths for the first time because we didn’t know what to expect,” said freshman Brody Lippincott of Wall Township. “I feel like we were a little bit underprepared just because we didn’t know what it would be like, but it was a lot of fun.”

Based on the huge success of the night, all of the hard work put into the event by the 16 countries and 12 performers was worth it to help those in need, symbolizing what the CCC stands for.

“Besides feeling a lot of stress, I feel very proud,” Campbell said. “Every little thing is difficult to plan but when it comes together so well at the end I feel like… ahhhh… happy. When it’s over I can say, ‘oh, it was so good.’”

This was a special year for the CCC Festival; it was the first one since pre-pandemic, funds were donated to a new cause and it was Señora Campbell’s last time advising the festival.

The CCC recognized Señora Campbell’s affluent dedication to the CCC Festival for the past 17 years and worked hard to make her final festival at CHS perfect.

“I think the festival went amazing,” Berger said. “I hope the turnout made Señora proud since it is her last year here at CHS.”