Vatican City takes first place at annual CCC festival


Allie Kuo

Sophomore Sebrina Gao of Manalapan and her team represented France in the CCC Festival and placed third.

Sarah McNey and Cailey Ruderman

The Cultural Communications Club took Monmouth County on a world tour during the annual Communications High School Cultural Festival on March 31. Club members formed groups representing 22 countries from six continents while colorful displays of art and food filled the halls of CHS.

Inspired by St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, the primary recipient of the club’s fundraising, the festival’s theme was ‘Uniting Hope.’ All proceeds from the night benefited St. Jude’s.

Vatican City took home first prize, while England and France were ranked second and third, respectively. The groups were judged by both CCC council members and CHS faculty on their presentation and knowledge of their country.

Sophomore Sebrina Gao of Freehold represented France along with five other sophomores. The group transformed a locker pod into a French café and spent the night serving fresh crepes, even when it was announced that they had placed.

“I didn’t really believe it at first when someone told me, but it was amazing to see all of our hard work pay off,” Gao said.

The festival is the club’s largest event and requires months of planning. Due to the recent absence of club advisor and Spanish teacher, Sabina Campbell, CCC council members took on more responsibility than usual.

“I kept in contact with the kids. We would constantly email each other,” Campbell said. “I knew what needed to be done, and they did what they had to do.”

Council members divided tasks such as organizing food and performances, creating advertisements, and mapping out the location of each country. CCC president and senior Caroline Collins of Tinton Falls and CCC vice president and senior Mark DiSpigna of Lincroft took on main roles, but credited the event’s success to the country members.

“It was a really big cooperative effort to get this event going,” DiSpigna said. “And of course, all the students in the club, they handle this themselves. It makes it so much easier for us.”

In addition to the countries, a lineup of performances traditionally takes place in the cafeteria. This year, performances were required to relate to the festival’s theme. One of the council’s most difficult tasks was finding enough talent, said CCC council member and junior Veronica Yaron of Little Silver.

Campbell was especially pleased with how the event turned out this year.

“It always goes very well but it went amazingly., I’m really happy,” Campbell said.