Cultural festival raises $2,500 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital


Emma Wilenta

On Friday, March 13, the Cultural Communications Club hosted the annual Cultural Communications Festival to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This year’s theme of “Giving Around the World in 180 Minutes” brought together various cultures from around the globe and raised $2,500 for a charitable cause, said club adviser Sabina Campbell.

Guests at the festival experienced the cultures of 14 countries including Egypt, Italy and Peru without ever leaving the halls of CHS. The night also included a talent show, which featured dance performances and a magic show.

Campbell said the night exceeded her expectations.

“I knew it was going to be good, but it was better than good,” Campbell said.

CCC Vice President Ashley Chu of Manalapan said she was happy with the participants’ dedication to their displays and the event’s overall success.

“The amount of work that students put in this year was better than any years that I have seen,” Chu said. “The level that the festival is at now is unbelievable. I could not have been any more proud of all of the dedication and effort put into the displays.”

Students who participated in the Cultural Communications Festival represented their chosen country through art, decoration and other creative mediums. Each booth offered food, from Cuban “cigars” made of chocolate to traditional Japanese sushi and green tea.

Judges considered many aspects of each presentation and graded each country on criteria including presentation and effort.

China’s display earned first place at the festival. Junior Emma McCaffrey of Middletown, one of six members who worked on the China display, said she and her group members worked several weeks to put their display together.

“Even last night we were still procrastinating putting everything together,” said McCaffrey.

Sophomore Evelyn Gallagher of Manasquan and friends created a Moroccan experience inside of a locker pod. She said hard work, time and dedication played a huge role in the presentation of each country’s booth.

“It was a lot of effort and a lot of preparation,” Gallagher said. “When you’re walking around and you see all of this, you can’t really tell everything that went into it, so it’s really cool being behind the scenes.”

Only one group of freshmen participated, representing Ecuador: Caroline Savage of Brielle, Katie Gibson of Wall, Lara Graney of Belmar, Courtney Kushnir of Colts Neck and Shannon Damiano of Spring Lake Heights.

Damiano said the focal point of her group’s booth was their handmade paper mache Galápagos tortoise, Guillermo. This was also the most time-consuming component of their display, she said. Their group began work on their country a month and a half in advance and also printed custom shirts that said “Ecuadorable” on the back.

Food, decorations and tortoises aside, the festival was a major success, said Chu.

“I am proud and so happy with the outcome this year. I was not only able to see so many wonderful students with beautiful displays, but also the marvelous fundraising we were able to do for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” Chu said.