The fashion show wasn't out of this world, but all over the world.

The fashion show wasn't out of this world, but all over the world.

Last week's Multicultural Festival at Centennial High School, which highlighted the extraordinary diversity of the student body, kicked off with a fashion show.

Most of the students who participated wore the traditional clothing of their homeland or that of their parents, and one, Luke Fallon -- as North American as they come -- dressed in Iraqi clothing in a show of solidarity with his friend, Mustafa Zghier.

The festival also featured singing and dancing from throughout the world.

The performances were preceded by a buffet of international foods prepared by volunteers, students and parents, as well as offerings donated by local restaurants.

It opened with students coming onstage and saying the word "welcome" in dozens of different languages.

Chad J. Smith, who teaches world languages at Centennial, helped organize this year's event.

The festival has been going on for more than 25 years, he said prior to the start of the 2016 edition.

It originated as a fundraiser to help pay for a trip to Washington, D.C., by an English as a second language class.

Planning for the annual celebration of diversity begins about six weeks in advance, Smith said, when students are recruited to be performers in the show or models in the fashion display.

"The kids, for the most part, practice on their own," Smith said.

"We do very little work with them."

The annual event is one Centennial students look forward to with much anticipation.

"This is actually probably one of our biggest things," said senior Beejay Crawford, one of the masters of ceremonies for the show in the auditorium.

"It's really cool that we can have this," said Samantha O'Leary, also a senior and another of the masters of ceremonies.

The festival exposes students to not only different ethnic foods, but also languages and cultures, she said.

"We get to showcase the diversity," said senior Betty Schumacher, another master of ceremonies.

Kira Watkins, a senior who sang the Star-Spangled Banner and got to say "welcome" in Portuguese, said it's exciting to try new foods, hear new languages and see new styles of dance.

"We get to learn a little bit more about how people used to live," she said.

"It really is celebrating people's heritages," said junior Phil Hoffman, who also did a turn as master of ceremonies.

"It's a cool way to bring us together, but at the same time celebrate our differences."

"It's a good way for people to get to know different cultures," said senior Kayla Abban, who sang an old Negro spiritual in the show.

"I just think it's good for people to understand how diverse this school is."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1

"It really is celebrating people's heritages. It's a cool way to bring us together, but at the same time celebrate our differences."

-- PHIL HOFFMAN

Centennial High School junior