Searching, for Justice

The Verdict

Searching, for Justice

The Verdict

Searching, for Justice

The Verdict


Gallery of Dreams
Dibora Yilma and Biruh Yilma dancing at International Night.

Inter­na­tional Night:

Gallery of Dreams


Justice High School’s Inter­na­tional Night took place on Febru­ary 28th, 2024, at 6:30 pm. This is an annual event designed to high­light the unique diver­sity of students and teach­ers at Justice. The night was filled with capti­vat­ing perfor­mances from several coun­tries and a fash­ion show dedi­cated to Justice’s multi­cul­tural world. 

To open the show, Assis­tant Prin­ci­pal Daniel Rodriguez guided the audi­ence into Justice’s Gallery of Dreams. With vari­ous wings titled admi­ra­tion, compas­sion, unity, and change, the presen­ta­tion took strong measures to embrace the ethnic mosaic formed by Justice’s student body. “Here at Justice, we repre­sent approx­i­mately 61 coun­tries and 52 differ­ent languages around the world,” Rodriguez states, “Despite our differ­ent cultural back­grounds, we have created strong and respect­ful rela­tion­ships with each other.” 

The first wing, or theme, of the perfor­mance was the Wing of Admi­ra­tion, where the fash­ion show began. Student models repre­sent­ing Bangladesh walk onto stage in the tradi­tional Pakistani cloth­ing for women and men, shal­war kameez. The men present an ensem­ble known as a ghagra choli; or shal­war kameez suits. Follow­ing Bangladesh’s perfor­mance, students repre­sent­ing Bolivia took the stage. Models high­lighted the special occa­sion attire, with women wear­ing dresses with sandals called an Abar­cas, and a hat. The men wore an under­shirt, pants, jack­ets, sandales, and a hard helmet hat. 

China graced the stage third, model­ing the Chinese Zooboo — a reversible jacket worn for spring festi­vals and some­times weddings. The Zooboo is inter­change­able, as it can be casual or formal, historic or modern. Moving forward in the perfor­mance, Ethiopia and Eritrea entered the stage. Students modeled the tradi­tional attire of Habe­sha women, the kemis/zuria — a white, hand-woven mate­r­ial made from Shemma, an Ethiopian cotton. Models also present the ankle length dress commonly worn by Ethiopian and Eritrean women at formal events, holi­days, and at church. Follow­ing the sequence, Greece presented layers and dimen­sions created through skirts, tops, scarves, and belts. The models presented regional exam­ples, as they differ in style comparatively. 

Next, Honduras presented a tradi­tional dress that is often made up of a beige, cotton fabric, with small color­ful details on the shoul­ders and end of the dress. The models wear braided hair with color­ful ribbon to repre­sent the color­ful and trop­i­cal envi­ron­ment of Honduras. 

Morocco followed, display­ing the Takshita, a tradi­tional women’s garment worn for cele­bra­tions and more specif­i­cally, weddings. A Takshita is made up of 2 pieces, the first layer being the “Tahtia,” a fine ornately deco­rated fabric.

Nubia and Sudan followed. Women graced the stage in the Sudanese dress known as a thoub or toub. The toub is a long piece of cloth wrapped around the body, looped over the head, and tossed over the right shoul­der. Next, models repre­sent­ing Sudan displayed the loose-fitting, long attire common for Sudanese people.

Next to last, the Philip­pines capti­vated the audi­ence with the presen­ta­tion of a Barong. A Barong is the tradi­tional cloth­ing for men in the Philip­pines. Women display the Baro’t saya, a tradi­tional dress ensem­ble that tradi­tion­ally consists of four parts: a blouse, a long skirt, a kerchief over the shoul­ders, and a short rectan­gu­lar cloth worn over the skirt. 

Finally, models showed off the tradi­tional fash­ion of Viet­nam. The national dress is known as the ao dài — a long, split silk tunic worn with pants primar­ily by women. Ao dài is worn during special occa­sions such as Tết, new year cele­bra­tions, and weddings. 

The night contin­ued on into the Wing of Compas­sion, where students performed dances from central and south Amer­ica. Bolivia performed an ener­getic dance that blew the audi­ence away.  Junior Josce­lyn Jimenez states, “I’m perform­ing for Bolivia this year and we’ve been stay­ing after school a lot from around 3–5 to get the dance down. I’ve been danc­ing all my life and I’m excited to get to show off my culture to people in the commu­nity! Our hard work and dedi­ca­tion has paid off and our pride is shown through our dancing.” 

 The stage sparkled with the rhymes and cultural tradi­tions special to the island of Martinique and other vari­ous hispanic cultures. The Wing of Accep­tance came third, high­light­ing the sounds of Asia and Europe. Pakistan, Viet­nam, Philip­pines, Korea, France, and Greece, performed capti­vat­ing inter­pre­tive dances. 

The final wing in the dance perfor­mance was the Wing of Unity. Here, students cele­brated the rhyth­mic music from Africa with visits to Soma­lia, Congo, Sudan and Nubia, and Ethiopia and Eritrea. Students appear­ing on behalf of Nubia and Sudan waved the flags of Sudan and Pales­tine during their dance. Sopho­more Retal Mohammed explains, “I brought the Sudanese flag to repre­sent Sudan and I was inspired to wave it in order [to] bring more aware­ness about what’s going on in Sudan.” 

The thir­teen minute perfor­mance by Ethiopia and Eritrea was the one to end the show on such an amaz­ing note. They had their show divided into eleven tribes and ended their perfor­mance with enter­ing the crowd, result­ing in abrupt cheers in every seat. “It was fun because we prac­ticed a lot. It was nice to see all our hard work come to fruition,” said Senior Nebah Adem, a dancer repre­sent­ing Ethiopia and Eritrea. At the end of the ener­getic perfor­mance, all perform­ers entered the stage in cele­bra­tion. Students on stage began to chant, “Free Pales­tine,” in unity. “I was inspired by the Sudanese perfor­mance because they dedi­cated part of their perfor­mance to dedi­cat­ing coun­tries such as Pales­tine and Sudan and I thought it was the perfect moment to speak up,” noted Adem. 



Co-chairs of the Inter­na­tional Night plan­ning commit­tee Eliz­a­beth Buffen­barger, French Language Teacher, and Theresa Cummings, Learn­ing Disabil­i­ties Teacher, created the inspired theme for this year’s inter­na­tional night: Gallery of Dreams. The goal was to encap­su­late the audi­ence into an art gallery; with four differ­ent wings repre­sent­ing differ­ent coun­tries and their unique culture. 


After decid­ing on a theme, the plan­ning commit­tee begins creat­ing a script. Before this is possi­ble, they must settle on their over­ar­ch­ing goals for the perfor­mance.  “What is the message that we wanna share this year? What’s the focus? It’s kind of like coming up with a thesis for a paper. Then, we can build every­thing else around it,” Buffen­barger describes. . 


From then on, student input and commit­ment is neces­sary for the success of the perfor­mance. The plan­ning commit­tee begins reach­ing out to students that might be inter­ested in involve­ment in the subcom­mit­tees. The subcom­mit­tees special­ize in differ­ent aspects of the event: perfor­mances, the fash­ion show, adver­tise­ment, deco­ra­tion, the cultural show­case, and food. Commu­ni­ca­tion is at the foun­da­tion of this event. “The biggest part of our job is just constantly the follow through,” Buffen­barger added, “just to touch base with them, always commu­ni­cat­ing constantly.” 


Addi­tion­ally, each coun­try meets regu­larly after school to chore­o­graph and prac­tice their routine for Inter­na­tional Night. These students display a relent­less amount of deter­mi­na­tion; all chal­lenges are over­come and worth it by the end of the night as cheers fill the auditorium.

It is the hope that this Inter­na­tional Night will prompt cele­bra­tion of the diverse culture at Justice. “We are in a very unique situ­a­tion,” Buffen­berger acknowl­edges, “We need to respect where every­body comes from, even though we’re all differ­ent. […] We’re all still human beings.” 

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Tess Maloney
Tess Maloney, Managing Editor
Tess Maloney is a junior in her second year writing for The Verdict, growing from a Staff Writer to the Managing Editor. She has a strong interest in historical literature and opinion based journalism.  Her favorite part of working on the paper is collaborating with other members and revising works for final print. Additionally, Tess is one of the contributing founders and Treasurer of the Journalism Club at Justice. Beyond her time spent towards schoolwork, she loves to read. Her favorite book is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.

Comments (0)

All The Verdict Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *