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Spanish National Honor Society hosts annual cultural night

Devin+Keller+%289%29+and+Haley+Keller+%2811%29+show+off+their+dance+moves+during+the+salsa+dancing+competition+held+at+La+Noche+Cultural.+Both+also+performed+in+a+dance+routine+in+the+talent+show+prior+to+the+salsa+dancing+competition.
Devin Keller (9) and Haley Keller (11) show off their dance moves during the salsa dancing competition held at La Noche Cultural. Both also performed in a dance routine in the talent show prior to the salsa dancing competition.

Devin Keller (9) and Haley Keller (11) show off their dance moves during the salsa dancing competition held at La Noche Cultural. Both also performed in a dance routine in the talent show prior to the salsa dancing competition.

Ashley Jiang

Ashley Jiang

Devin Keller (9) and Haley Keller (11) show off their dance moves during the salsa dancing competition held at La Noche Cultural. Both also performed in a dance routine in the talent show prior to the salsa dancing competition.

by Tiffany Wong, Aquila News Editor

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Colorful paper streamers, decorative cultural posters and traditional Spanish music transformed the gym this evening for the Spanish National Honor Society’s annual La Noche Cultural.

Held every spring, La Noche Cultural invites students to learn more about Spanish culture through sampling Spanish dishes, enjoying a series of cultural performances and participating in a salsa dancing competition. To foster a more immersive experience, the Spanish National Honor Society encouraged attendees to speak only in Spanish for the evening.

“The mission of the [Spanish National Honor] Society is to educate people about Spanish culture, so I think that it’s really cool that we got to open the doors not just to members of our society, but to others outside of our community as well,” Spanish National Honor Society president Aditi Maheshwari (12) said.

Preparation for the night began months in advance, with society members forming different committees responsible for various tasks such as cooking, decorating, cleaning and publicizing the event.

“We made announcements at the school meetings and put up posters as part of spreading the word about the evening. The day of, we started at about 3 p.m., and then we all gathered here to transform the gym,” Spanish National Honor Society advisor Abel Olivas said. “We also had tech rehearsals in the afternoon after auditions ended. It’s a lot of fun, and it all feels worth it when the kids are performing and you’re having as nice of a time as they are.”

The night began with a dinner of paella, a traditional Spanish dish of rice cooked and served in a large shallow pan, followed by a variety of desserts served afterwards.

Performers in the following cultural talent show included acts by faculty and students from all grades. Bel Canto and Downbeat director Carl Oser and mathematics teacher Jeanette Fernandez, along with her son Jacob Fernandez (6), were the two faculty members featured in the event.

“I wanted to perform at Harker at some point in high school and I was too scared to perform in front of the whole school, but it’s pretty chill to perform in Spanish National Honor Society so I just decided to do it this year,” Millie Lin (11), who sang a Spanish rendition of the song “Audition (The Fools who Dream)” from the movie “La La Land,” said. “‘Audition’ was a song that I already knew in English, so I found somebody who translated the lyrics online and I used those.”

Christie Chen (10) performs a dance routine with dance partner Charlotte Blanc (9) during La Noche Cultural. Christie and Charlotte's performance was the first out of the nine acts featured in the show.

Event attendees were then encouraged to participate in a salsa dancing competition and were given ten minutes to practice their routines before judging began. With every duo dancing at the same time, Olivas and Moss singled out teams for elimination by ushering them off the floor before deciding on the final three groups. Neil Ramaswamy (10) and Timothy Wang (10) beat out the rest of the dancers to claim first place in the event.

“This was something completely random; I didn’t even expect to have Neil as a partner, but it was fun,” Timothy said. “I didn’t go in expecting to win; I kind of just did it for fun. But win or lose, it was still fun.”

After the end of the salsa dancing competition, Olivas and Moss concluded the night by thanking the attendees for coming and by encouraging them to visit again next year.

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Spanish National Honor Society hosts annual cultural night