St. Vincent Pallotti High School is preparing for its first-ever international festival scheduled for Friday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 9 p.m.. at the school.

The festival will serve as a kick-off to the freshmen retreat weekend at the school, welcoming the Class of 2016. For the past 10 years, the kick-off festival was a potluck for freshmen students and their families, but this year, the festival is extended to the entire Pallotti community, including alumni.

The festival, which is expected to draw up to 800 participants, will feature a world beat drummer, a Celtic clarinetist and multiple bands playing pop and worship songs. Students will be doing henna tattoos and playing culturally based games.

Of the nearly 480 students enrolled at Pallotti High, about 50 are international students, said Nancy Vawter, director of campus ministry at the school. The international population has grown in the past five years, mostly with students from China, Vietnam and South Korea.


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"The more we interact with people from other places, we have an understanding of how much we are all the same," Vawter said. "The focus (of the festival and freshmen retreat) is that we are all part of the family of God, and we are global community. We are called to care for our brothers and sisters as our family. This is a night to celebrate the families who are at Pallotti, and a celebration of our roots. We've all come here to live out being a family together."

The keynote address at the festival will be delivered by Brian Greenfield, a representative from Hard as Nails Ministries, who will speak to the community's call to "love one another," Vawter said.

"This is the gift of humanity, the uniqueness that we bring," she said. "It's something to be celebrated."