Students doing a hispanic dance.

As the sun began to set on West Buncombe Elementary School (WBES), a magical transformation took place within its walls. It was International Family Night, a spectacular fusion of cultures and colors converging in one vibrant celebration. 

On March 26, the school pulsated with the rhythms of distant lands, fragrances evoked stories of faraway places, and children were adorned in a kaleidoscope of global attire. From the tantalizing flavors of Ukrainian foods to the graceful movements of Latin American dances, every corner beckoned with the promise of exploration and unity. 

“This event is an opportunity to appreciate and honor the families of our multilingual students,” said English as a Second Language teacher Sarah Jimenez. “Our school really is a microcosm of the world we live in. This is a powerful experience for students as they look ahead to participating in diverse communities and planning for future careers in the global marketplace.” 

The theme for the first annual event was travel, and guests felt like they traversed the world in one night. Countries such as Venezuela, Mexico, Taiwan, Ukraine, and India along with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians were represented. Food, jewelry, costumes, pottery, and more lined the tables for guests to see. It was an opportunity to learn where families come from and see a glimpse into life outside Buncombe County. 

“While the food, music, and displays were truly exceptional, the best part of the night was seeing the excited, happy faces of students and parents as they traveled through the gym sharing with one another,” Jimenez said. 

WBES is a melting pot of cultures, where students from all over the world come to learn. The school is also part of the Dual Language Spanish Immersion program, with educators from different Latin American countries. Ms. Jimenez said they hope to make this a yearly tradition. 

Student trying traditional Ukrainian food.