Thursday, September 4, 2014

First day of school

Pupils in Belarus start the school year on September first, but somehow I never noticed the fact until this year, when Anna entered first grade. We went to join the festivities.

On the way we walked past another school and I noticed the kids all decked out in their school uniforms, many of them carrying flowers to present to their teachers. Parents posed them for photographs under trees and in other pretty places nearby. Today was called Day of Knowledge, and the kids looked quite earnest.

Anna's family got to school at the last minute, so I didn't see anybody until the kids made their grand entrance. Disregarding instructions about standing with parents behind the youngest kids, I got myself a prime location behind a bunch of high school kids. Somehow I missed the fact that they would be part of an upcoming performance, but I melted into the crowd of parents before my group made its grand entrance into the school for the first time in the new year. It's possible that somebody noticed a white-haired guy amidst the students, but nobody called me out on it.

The performance mainly focused on welcoming the littlest kids. Unlike everybody else, they started inside the school and they all received balloons. All the other students lined up to form a perimeter around the staging area and then the newest scholars marched into the midst and stood facing the school. We all listened politely to speeches, some of which I judged overly long, and then the little kids released their balloons; to applause and cheers.

As the ceremony drew to a close, the principal admonished the parents on the day's importance and urged them to do whatever they could to be sure their kids ended the day with happy memories of it all. We took our friends out for tea and cakes, and I certainly ended the day with happy memories

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