It’s the event that South Cobb High School students look forward to all year. It’s a tradition dating back almost two decades.
It’s what makes South Cobb, South Cobb. Every year on the Friday before spring break, students transform the gym into a snapshot of all the cultures and heritages that melt together to form the South Cobb family. The aroma of different spices wafts in the air; students dress in colorful ensembles from around the world and gather to watch their classmates perform cultural dances. The school family has looked forward to the annual South Cobb International Festival each school year for more than 15 years. “We represent different types of countries from around the world,” explained sophomore Sherrod. “It is brings life to South Cobb, being able to showcase all the different countries we have here, since the school is so diverse.” Students set up tables representing more than 20 countries at the festival, but the number of countries represented within the student body may be close to double that. “You walk through the halls, and you see the face of America in the different students,” said South Cobb history teacher Andy Cole. Cole was wearing a Scottish kilt at this year’s festival to represent his heritage because he thinks it is good for the students to see their teachers appreciating their heritage too. The veteran South Cobb teacher said the festival encourages students to work together in school because they gain a better understanding of everyone’s culture. One of Cole’s favorite parts of the festival is the food. “I tell my students I think you can learn so much about a culture from their food,” Cole added. “A lot of the food [at the festival] is made by the students. So, they are proud of it, and it reflects their heritage.” The festival dancing is top on the list for the students. During a line dance, students from the crowd joined in. As students leaped across the floor in other dances, the crowd of students both watched in awe and cheered with excitement. At the festival, students didn’t only represent their heritage. Student dancer, Riley, represented Kenya because one of her friends is Kenyan. “I’m doing it with her so I can learn more about the dancing and the food,” said Riley, 10th grade. “It is very educational. I think it is important to be educated about what other people do so you are not close-minded.” Ninth grader Emilie, who wore a traditional Spanish flamenco dress as she served churros at the Spain table, suggested that the festival educates students about countries where they may want to travel to in the future. Although South Cobb social studies teacher Sally Giusti has organized the International Festival for 13 years, she credits the students for the event’s success. On the morning of the festival this year, some students arrived at 6 a.m. to set up because they were so excited. Students and teachers agree that the International Festival celebrates the diversity of the South Cobb family, but it is so much more.
Trudy Delhey, Supervisor
Contributing Author: Nan Kiel, Assistant Director