Monday, October 29, 2007

Young citizens of the world

In a blaze of colorful costumes, the kids of Country Day School participated in an exciting and moving celebration of United Nations Day on Friday. The event, held in the CDS gymnasium, began with a parade of nations reminiscent of those held at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.

The kids—from a whopping 45 countries!—were allowed to wear native costumes to school representing their home nations. To start the ceremony, the children lined up in the corridors, eagerly awaiting their turn to enter the gym. As Mr. Large, the principal, announced each country, children (sometimes many, sometimes just one) marched in to that country’s music while bearing the flag of their nation. There was great applause for all of the kids, with Costa Rica prompting an explosive cheer from everyone.

It was so touching to see these proud little kids joining together to celebrate their patriotism, our world, and the unity of their own student body. I got teary-eyed when the United States was announced and I saw my two smiling daughters proudly entering the gym in their homemade "USA" shirts and red, white, and blue ponytail holders.

Some of the kids' costumes were breathtaking: the little Korean children in beautiful native clothing, the Spanish girls in their cheery flamenco dresses, the throng of Mexican amigos with sombreros and serapes, the Ticas in their billowy skirts and blouses, and the charming little French boy with the beret and a loaf of bread in his sack.

Once the parade was done, the kids sang a song together about friendship, and then a group of students from each grade took turns performing. Lauren’s class did a song and dance from Israel, while Erin’s class performed a traditional African dance. Halfway through the dance, three of the African parents (also in native dress) joined the kids (who were floundering a bit), and the place was electrified—parents, teachers, and kids were cheering and clapping.

Finally, the American teachers danced to a High School Musical song in representation of the United States—they were surprisingly talented and hip! You can imagine the hoots and hollers from the kids as they watched several of their teachers getting their groove on. I’ve gotta admit, I was impressed.

I tried to get some good photos, but the lighting made it difficult and there was so much movement—but you can see some of what was going on in this web album (again, I recommend viewing it as a slideshow).

This is by far one of the most unique, inspiring things I’ve ever seen at an elementary school, and it will be a very special memory for us all.

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