Cultural Festival Reflections

Mr. Lee provides insight into his experience with the cultural festival

Clare Sparling, Staff Writer

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As Mr. Lee prepares to leave Oakton next year, he has provided insight into the cultural festival experience. Every year cultural festival, with it’s bright colors and myriad of songs from all over the world, captures the hearts of the Oakton community. The beautiful fan dance, exciting Wushu performance, and memorable tunes of the Indian dance would never have been possible without the behind the scenes work of Mr. Lee. Despite this, Mr. Lee did not stay in the shadows. His comedic commentary provided a light hearted feel to the show and his performance of Change is Gonna Come was heartwarming.

Why do you organize cultural festival?

“I am an entertainer myself. I like to perform. I do musicals, I perform in acapella groups, and things of that nature. When I found out that Oakton does something like that, especially demonstrating the diversity of the school, I was very excited about it. I was like ‘sure why not!’ and I just kept on doing it every single year.”

What was your inspiration for singing Change is Gonna Come?

“My inspiration is that there is change happening in my life, there is change happening in the school. Also, this song was created during the civil rights movement, so I did sing it to recognize [that] it was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King that week. I sang it because I felt that it was very inspirational. I felt that the meaning of the song that, yes there are bad things or yes there are things that bother you, but change is going to happen. But change can only happen if you want it to. So I kind of want to inspire people just to say that if you feel that something it not right, say something. Also, don’t feel, you know, so ostrichsized if you’re different that you have to change. You technically don’t have to change, you be yourself. If something is bothering you, try to make that change happen whether you are a student, teacher, administrator, it doesn’t matter. And then for me, obviously moving out of the area, the word comes up a lot. And it is one of my favorite songs. I sang it at my wedding reception. I do get emotional with that song because it just does have a powerful message. You get knocked down but then there is some type of strength that gets you going, whether for me its work, my other half, my family my dog. You know, it’s just one of those things. Really, it just hit me long.”

What are you going to miss most about culture festival?

“The students. I am going to miss the performance, I am going to miss the overall talent and dedication that these students put in to express their heritage, to express who they are. And it’s such a beautiful thing to see these students get on stage do what they love to do, and be appreciated for it from their own peers and front their parents. Just that whole part. Yeah, me singing, the standing ovation, whatever, yeah that’s cool, but honestly the biggest thing I’m gonna miss is the students just going out there and putting there all in it. It’s a beautiful sight.”

The Oakton community is very thankful for Mr. Lee’s dedication to the cultural festival. Although it seems hard to imagine it without him, the school and wishes him luck next year.


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