By Jim Newell
ORION TWP. — Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast. It’s a nation known for historic sites related to a succession of rulers including the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and British.
It has numerous fortresses, megalithic temples and the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, a subterranean complex of halls and burial chambers dating to circa 4000 B.C.
These and other interesting facts about different world cultures are just some of the things guests to Culture Night may learn from the 30 foreign exchange students at Lake Orion High School.
“It is focused on highlighting the different cultures here within our community of Lake Orion and trying to spread awareness and information about the different cultures,” said Stephanie Moyer, LOHS teacher and club advisor. “Our foreign exchange students are presenting information about their cultures, but we have other cultures that are presenting as well.”
Culture Night is a free community event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. at Lake Orion High School. The evening includes a DJ, raffles with gift cards and baskets awarded to the winners, ethnic food and a food truck. There are Greek dancers who will be showcased.
The foreign exchange students at Lake Orion High School represent 15 different nations, and there are more cultures within the Orion community, said Morgan Tinnion, teacher and club advisor.
“They’re so excited. Each group is going to have a table that people can come and visit,” said Tinnion. “A lot of what they’re focusing on is how to say your name or different words and phrases in their language. They’ll talk about populations and foods and popular things in their countries.”
While many people may think of countries like Italy or France first when they think of foreign exchange students, Culture Night will feature a wide diversity of cultures, Tinnion said.
“We also have a Malta table; we have a Native American table. We have a lot of cultures that I think people sometimes overlook, or aren’t necessarily the first culture that comes to your mind when you think of our community in Lake Orion. You don’t think of it being overly diverse,” she said. “We have a lot of different countries and places being highlighted that don’t normally get the spotlight.”
“We have crafts for young kids. We have ethnic food. Some of the students are going to bring in food that they baked,” Moyer said.
Tinnion added that different age groups will also “highlight different books that are written by authors that are written by authors from different ethnic backgrounds and different genders and races so that we can highlight authors who look like our students and are like our students.”
“All of the differen people who are presenting, whether they be foreign exchange students or students within our everyday culture that go here and live here, they’re all very excited to showcase their culture and to be able to share that,” said Moyer,
Tinnion and Moyer are excited to bring Culture Night back to the community after a hiatus since the Covid pandemic.
“We really encourage families to come and attend because we think it’s really going to be a fantastic event,” Moyer said.
Any business or organization that would like to donate to the Cultural Outreach Club can email Morgan Tinnion at firstname.lastname@example.org or Stephanie Moyer at email@example.com.
“People do not have to donate to get a raffle ticket. You get a raffle ticket no matter what. And if people feel like they would like to donate to the club so we can put on future events here at the high school then I think that’s kind of what our goal is,” Moyer said.
By Jim Newell