Changes to French Honor Society’s Mardi Gras

Rachel Wu, Design Editor

Students gather onto the stage while others begin to sit down to watch. Chatter dies down, and music begins to play. The students on stage begin to sing, voices resonating with joy, and the audience join in with cheers. With all the fun of Lynbrook’s 2019 Mardi Gras on Feb. 15, it is easy to look past the changes made this year.

Mardi Gras is the holiday prior to the 40-day fasting season, Lent. It is characterized by mask-wearing, live music and parades. Lynbrook’s Mardi Gras celebration consisted of French class performances, food and activities, with the goal of allowing attendees to immerse themselves in French culture while having fun.

“Typically, I don’t really interact with the other French classes, but Mardi Gras is a time for everyone to gather,” said senior Yuriko Akeyama, who volunteered at Mardi Gras. “You can see people you don’t really expect to see otherwise.”

Planning for Mardi Gras began in October 2018, when French Honor Society officers senior Anubha Kale and senior Michelle Lum began communicating with this year’s Mardi Gras committee, which consisted of senior Ysabel Li, junior Sanjana Ravikumar and junior Shounak Ranabhor. The committee members’ responsibilities included discussing each class’ performance with the French teachers and brainstorming games for activities.

“I got to experience firsthand how much time people put into preparing for Mardi Gras,” Ravikumar said. “It’s been an eye-opening experience for me. It has also been fun to get to know the other members of the committee and my teachers better through organizing the event.”

Due to construction, Mardi Gras, which is usually hosted in the cafeteria, was relocated to the auditorium. This posed many challenges, including hosting the event with limited space due to the built-in chairs and food prohibition rule in the auditorium. To tackle these challenges, performances were located just below the stage, and activities on the stage. As for the food prohibition rule in the auditorium, the committee decided to move food outside the auditorium, under the overhang.

“This year, [Mardi Gras] was brand new,” said French Honor Society adviser Denise Schang. “But I tell my students that life is about change, and we need to adapt, so [the changes to Mardi Gras] are okay. We did our best, and even if the decorations may not have been perfect, it is more about the people who are there and sharing in the event.”

The event began with an introduction by the French Honor Society, then activities and class performances. Class performances consisted of songs and skits performed by both Lynbrook and Miller French students. The event concluded with the traditions of a conga line dance to the French song Le Bal Masqué and a line dance to Les Champs-Élysées.

“I was excited to see the performances that the students from Miller brought,” Kale said. “Miller students are extremely enthusiastic about performing their songs, which is really cute.”

Throughout the year, French Honor Society members had been corresponding with Miller students. With Mardi Gras as one of the main activities involving both Lynbrook and Miller French students, it was the great opportunity for pen pals to meet in person.

“Mardi Gras means a lot to me,” said Utsav Kataria, a Miller student who attended the event. “We performed skits that we practiced a lot for. I think our skit went really well. I learned about French culture, which was really fun. Before, I didn’t know that Mardi Gras was about eating fatty foods.”

Mardi Gras brought students together as they participated in activities and took part in performances. It was a great opportunity for students to interact and a time full of festivities that both high school and middle school students could enjoy together.