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Warming Up a Cold December Night with a Polynesian Luau
Despite the tragic losses that our Nation faced on Friday, December 14th, the Susitna Family came together to celebrate community and the winter season. "Snow and Sarongs" a Susitna luau was put on by the Susitna Singers and director Shawnee Vanderpool to highlight the warmth we can feel even in the coldest of weather. The evening began with an abundant display of generosity in the form of food and family. Over 325 guests gathered in Susitna's gym to enjoy food from everyone's homes. After dinner, students and families visited stations where they learned about Polynesian culture and traditions. These stations were manned by volunteers from the the community, the Polynesian Association of Alaska, Susitna Parents, and the incredible school staff. Students were able to participate in activities such as lei making, ukulele playing, island dancing and games, and Samoan cultural show and tell. Kimber Miller set the night on fire spinning her fire poi as students arrived. Later children were able to make their own set of practice poi and received tips from Kimber on how to spin.
The evening ended with the Susitna Singers serenading the audience with songs from the Polynesian Islands. Students in grades 3-5 in the after school choir program sang in 5 different languages and celebrated the culture and the history of these nations. Susitna was left with an awe-inspiring feeling of community, family, support, and love as the Fa'aloua family began a community Samoan dance. It was a wonderful way to bring families into the school for a positive experience.