Understanding Why: The Elimination of the 2018 AFS Show
November 12, 2018
The annual AFS Talent Show has been part of Homestead High School’s proud traditions for 57 years. This year, however, the production will not take place. The reality of this somber phenomena has caused students to seek a broader perspective on this issue.
The simplest catalyst was that not enough students auditioned. Alaina Bodi, senior president of Homestead’s AFS Club, has been distraught about this reality: “It’s upsetting to me that there were only eight people who auditioned and that was clearly not enough to put on a full show.”
The AFS Variety Show has always been a safe haven for talented students who would otherwise never get a chance to display their unique abilities. Its discontinuance this year will have an impact on the few students who wanted to demonstrate their talents. “You can never guess the talent a Homestead student might have. It’s crazy yet common that a ‘quiet voice’ in class can sing Fergalicious on stage,” Bodi said.
A significant change that might have contributed to the issue includes the fact that the name of the show has changed since last year. Bodi explains that “[they] changed the name of the show to Homestead’s Got Talent instead of the AFS Variety Show in the hopes to attract more people to audition. Maybe it had the opposite effect, especially with returnees who were unsure if the talent show remained the same from the year before.”
A problem that will naturally arise from the cancellation of the AFS Talent Show will be the lack of funding to sponsor students interested in studying abroad in the future. This showcase is one of the biggest fundraising events for AFS. All the funds derived from the show are donated for the sake of gathering scholarship money for students unable to pay the full tuition of studying abroad.
Mark Smith, president of the Mequon AFS chapter, was additionally saddened by the course of events: “Our AFS Chapter feels very badly— particularly for Homestead — that [the show will] take place this year because we feel the Variety Show has helped to enrich the environment at Homestead in a number of ways,” Smith said.
In addition to those responsible for the AFS Talent Show, students who participated in the event last year were also unhappy about the news. Anvesha Mukherjee, senior, sang “The Phantom of the Opera’ her junior year and planned to sing another song this year as well. “I’m very upset. This was an event I was looking forward to. The Variety Show helped shape who I am today as a high school student; it helped me establish a sense of identity,” Mukherjee said.
“The AFS show is a great outlet for people of multicultural heritages to showcase their talents and abilities that they wouldn’t be able to demonstrate anywhere. It’s also a really good platform for them to exhibit their background at school for other people to see and get exposure to. I hope everything works out next year,” Mukherjee said.
Despite the disquieting nature of what happened this year, both Bodi and Smith are positive that the show will take place next year. After all, “while the AFS Chapter and the Theater Department coordinate the production of this event, it has only been as successful and long-running as it was because of the creativity, talent, and willingness to perform of Homestead students who have taken advantage of this opportunity.” Smith said.