The world comes to Northern Collegiate
Annual MAC Night set for Sarnia high school
MAC Night, a long-standing celebration of diversity at Northern Collegiate, returns Thursday evening to the Sarnia high school.
Starting at 5 p.m., the cafeteria at the school on Michigan Avenue will be set up with tables offering food from around the world for sale, and entertainment is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the gym.
MAC Night is a large annual community event that began at the high school in the early 1990s and can attract 500 to 600 people, said Harminder Deol, a physics teacher at the school who works with its student Multicultural Awareness Club.
“Entry is free, but you have to pay for your food as you go along the food booths,” she said.
Students in the club are involved in planning and organizing MAC Night, including arranging for cultural clubs and organizations in the community to attend and prepare and sell food.
“We have a variety of foods this year,” Deol said.
“We have East Indian, we have Chinese food, Filipino food, Italian, Caribbean, German, Spanish.”
New this year will be a Syrian food booth, marking the recent arrival of students from that country.
“That is very exciting,” Deol said.
The cost of the food is “very nominal” and generally items at the tables run $3 to $5, depending on the eater’s appetite, she said.
There are also snacks and desserts for lower amounts, including samosas. “That is a favourite,” Deol said. She added a student DJ at Northern will be playing “beats from around the world” in the cafeteria.
Students also decorate the school and dress in cultural costume.
MAC Night is one of the large annual events at the school, and it has been supported this year by grants from the Sarnia-Lambton Local Immigration Partnership and the Northern school council.
This year’s MAC Night entertainment lineup includes Chinese, East Indian, Filipino and Irish dance groups, a Latin dance lesson and performances by the school bands.
“We have lots of acts,” Deol said.
“I think it’s going to be amazing.”
The event was created around the school’s themes of equality, inclusiveness, diversity and community.
“We do this at our school to educate people about appreciating other cultures and learning from them, and being part of something from around the world,” Deol said.
The school’s Multicultural Awareness Club meets regularly through the school year, holding activities to learn about cultures through customs, food, games, dances and language.
In January, the club organized sessions offering relaxation techniques from different cultures, Deol said.
“One was tai chi with green tea and fortune cookies, and another one was yoga and Indian tea, and the kids just loved it,” she said.
“That was near exams, so it really helped everyone.”
Shown in this file photo are Northern Collegiate students, from left, Shravani Shah, Maitri Patel and Hardee Shah, at the 2016 MAC Night event. This year's event, organized by the Sarnia high school's Multiculural Awareness Club, is Thursday, beginning at 5 p.m.