January 15, 2010
Some of you already know that every year I organize and put together a Cultural Festival at Beechwood Elementary with the purpose of celebrating the diversity found at our school. My goal is for our ESL families to have a night where their country is celebrated, their children's effort is applauded and their cultured valued and celebrated by everyone in our community. You can find my earlier post about this festival right here.
There are so many people involve in this event, in this celebration that every one has such a huge impact on the success of the Festival. This event is
put together by:
The ESL families & their children
The Beechwood Staff
Our brilliant Music Teacher & 4th grade choir
Our amazing, extraordinary PTA
Several Business Communities that provide donations.
This year we had 600 people RSVP to this event. We had an overwhelming response from the Community. It was amazing. The theme I have chosen for this Festival was WISHES & DREAMS. Our dear music teacher found some amazing and inspiring music for our 4th grade Choir to perform during the Cultural Festival. Their repertoire included Defying Gravity from the unforgettable Broadway Musical Wicked, a tribute song to Jesse Owen for following his dreams, and a thrilling song sang completely in Shona, one of the languages spoken in Zimbawe. The 4th grade brought tears to our eyes with their magical singing voices.
Using my flip video (best classroom investment ever!), I recorded my ESL students in grades Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade share their wishes with our audience. I compiled their wish video into a slide show using Keynote (Apple). I showed the slide show last night to our families and it was one of those inspirational moments I'll never forget.
After reading the book Wish: Wishing Traditions Around the World by Roseanne Thong and Elisa Kleven, I learned about the different ways countries make wishes. Here in the USA usually children and adult make their wishes when they blow out the candles on their birthday. The book WISH helped me learn about other great traditions. One of those traditions I learned is that in Guatemala people make gigantic kites, decorate them, write their wishes on it, and let them free on the Day of the Death. So last night, our students made kites, wrote their wishes on it, and hang them up in our school WISH mural. Now all of our kites are hanging right in front of our school office. I wish I could share with you every wish these children made. But all I can say now is that it is very hard to read those wishes without some tissues. Their wishes represent their humble hearts and their childhood innocence.
Our last part of the night was the sampling. Thanks to our ESL families and communities business, we had food from all over the world. And our parent volunteers worked so hard to serving everyone a small taste of the countries' food. Children were respectful, parents were involved, and sincere wishes were made. I couldn't ask for anything else.
Five years ago I created the Cultural Festival at Beechwood. When I started this, I never imagined that this Festival would become of the biggest community event in the neighborhood. We had come such a long way and our community has grown so much. My heart is filled with gratitude.