“How brave are these students?” asked Otero Junior College President Tim Alvarez. “They leave their parents, their home and come to a strange land where a different language is spoken. I learn so much from them every day."

Alvarez's comments were made Thursday during International Food Nights at OJC, an occasion to share the cuisine of different cultures and also to raise funds for international scholarships.

The menu included Colombian-style Empanadas, Dutch-style Bitterballen (meatballs), Chinese-style Nai Lao Wang Dun (cheese wontons), Cape Verde-style Cachupa (sausage stew), Korean-style Kimchi-Bokkeumbap (spicy pickled cabbage fried rice), Croatia-style Sarma (stuffed cabbage roll), Scottish-style Tablet (sweet fudge-like candy), Italian-style Tiramisu, and Japanese-style Dorayaki (sweet filled pancake).

The evening began with the running of the bulls, on the screen and live in front of the audience. The bull was played by IRO Director Rochelle Wallace, behind a cutout of a bull and wearing a bull mask.

Another event featured Isaiah Alexander, from the island nation of Trinidad, in traditional costume.

Many honors and recognitions were presented during the evening of fun and fellowship. Director Chellie Wallace called Jonathan Fox of Fowler up from the audience to thank him for sponsoring the internship of Jonas Sehlen, from Germany.

Sehlen spent half of his year in class and half in the internship in a program sponsored by Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange. An American student is welcomed in Germany in exchange for the German youth in the U.S.

The coveted T. Shawn McGrath Scholarship for an all-around good student went to Mateo Village Cepeda, from Colombia, who unfortunately was not present to accept.

The Franzmann Family Scholarship went to Qiwen Liao, of China, who is in the second year of the nursing program. 

The Spirit Award was presented to Anouk van Noord, of the Netherlands.

The Academic Leadership Award went to Aleksander Kosovac, who is from Serbia.