Celebrating a McFestival

Celebrating a McFestival

McLean High School celebrates its culture and diversity.

Quesadillas, crepes, Russian dumplings, Korean food, hotdogs and Chex Mix with mealworms were all on the lunch menu on April 6 at McLean High School. The reason for such a smorgasbord of offerings? Why McFest of course.

"They have had it ever since I have started here which was in 1993," said McLean High School Journalism teacher Becky Sipos. "Before I came it was called Art Day, but then the other departments said ‘hey we have cool stuff to show off too,’ so then it became the McLean High School Festival of the Arts, and now it's just a celebration of everything."

Last year's "celebration of everything" was canceled as a result of conflicts with academics and spring exams. However, the tradition came back this year by popular demand.

"With so much emphasis on standardized testing these days, it's wonderful to have a day just to celebrate learning for the fun of it," said Sipos.

Mary Jane Stevens, McLean High School EOSL teacher, co-chaired this year's event. She says that the decision was made to have McFest in April in order to avoid interrupting May test schedules. Planning for the event started as early as January.

"Everybody is involved — all the different departments," said Stevens. "It's just to show the diversity of the school."

McFest, the McLean High School Festival of Arts and Sciences and Celebration of Multicultural Heritage, took place during school hours. Every school department participated in some way which resulted in a broad offering of sites, tastes and sounds.

The science department organized a bubble blowing contest in the courtyard, the English department created a poetry coffee house, the journalism department presented an interactive quiz game called NewsMania in conjunction with the Newseum. String quartets and student dance groups performed throughout the day.

Junior Sal Sapitano set up camp in the courtyard with a bag of bubblegum and a target designed to measure bubbles.

"This was all my idea from the start — just to have some fun," said Sapitano.

Science teacher Doug Sabin tried to assist senior Alex Krall in creating a bubble large enough to hold an entire person. Unfortunately, the bubble did not seem to want to cooperate.

"Hey that's part of science, it's a learning thing," said Sabin.

Ninth grade English teacher Lori Wagoner ran the poetry coffee house out of her classroom. She supplied coffee from Starbucks and Greenberry's and allowed students to read poetry at their own whim.

"It's a great venue," said Wagoner. "They can read their own, the can read someone else's. Poetry is such a broad range — rap lyrics are poetry. They just come and go because the whole idea is that it is a coffee house."

THE HENNA tattoo room was a popular spot at Thursday's event. Throngs of students, mostly girls, lined up to be painted with Indian designs.

"I got Om which means God," said junior Natasha Crawford, who declared the food to be her favorite part of McFest.

Prior to getting her henna tattoo, Crawford tried out the Zumba dance lessons.

"It's a mix of different Hispanic dances," said Crawford.

Asuka Boutcher, who teaches Zumba at gyms all across the Washington Metro area, showed students her Zumba moves throughout the day at McFest.

"It's Salsa, Samba, Merengue," said Boutcher. "It's just all dancing to get fit."

Parent Linda Burchfiel, a docent at the Smithsonian Insect Zoo in Washington D.C., offered edible bugs and exotic insect displays in the McLean High School lunchroom. Burchfiel was able to coax some students into trying her mealworm delicacies.

"They screamed at first, but then they began daring each other, so some of them tried," said Burchfiel.

Other activities offered were the creation of Chinese paper art, origami. Sports, yoga and world dance were also offered at the festival.

"It's a great day to spend with your friends and enjoy the international aspects of McLean High School," said junior Will Cook, a student member of the McFest committtee.