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Hampton Street School Hosts International Night

Flags, food and festive dance abound at annual heritage event.

There were Irish step dancers, girls with castanets, men playing accordions, a lithe Indian dancer and lots of tasty food from around the world.

The ethnic diversity of Mineola was well represented Saturday at the as families and friends gathered for International Night.

Taking note of the diverse student body, Principal Sue Caryl Fleischmann instituted International Night 5 years ago.

“I saw what they cook and said let’s have an international night,” she said.

Cina Palumbo, co-president of the PTA with Toni-Ann Dalton, lauded the event for “bringing together all of our Hampton community.”

The evening opened with a potluck dinner in the gym, which was festooned with flags from dozens of countries. Homemade dishes were set up on tables running through the middle.

The Rivera family contributed gallo pinto from Costa Rica; the Melars brought pupusas from El Salvador; German potato pancakes were contributed by the Gaysons; Gladys Gaines, from Colombia, made chicken and rice (her 7 year old son Thomas said he was glad to be back because last year he liked the food and the show). Then there was penne al vodka, Chinese dumplings, perogis, stuffed shells and chicken potpie.

Desserts were plentiful with CJ Jones showing off his Sicilian heritage with his mother’s cheesecake. His younger daughter, Margarett, donned her Korean dress, representing her mother’s heritage.

After all had eaten their fill, bagpiper Tom Behan – whose children had attended Hampton Street – marched through the room with pipes blaring, to let the crowd know that the show was about to begin.

The entertainment began with Irish step dancers from the Donny Golden School of Irish Dance followed by Neha Narvekar’s Indian dance. Neha, a tenth grader at whose family is from northern India, described her dance as a combination of Bollywood and classic Indian dance.

A trio from the school – Mia, Roberto and Jonathan – followed with a flash back to the 80s with a break-dance. The finale was “Dreams of Portugal” from the Mineola Portuguese Center, well represented with a large troupe of dancers and musicians.

For the final number, the audience was invited to join in on stage – with more than a third of the crowd accepting the invitation to be part of the fun finale.

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