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home : good life : good life January 24, 2015

All Saints' students celebrate diversity in many cultures
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SIMMONS HANNAH, left, EMMA CLARK, 5K, representing Egypt

   “Our planet has over 200 countries, created by people with common interests, families, hopes, and dreams, just like you,” said Richard Verma, former assistant Secretary of State under Hillary Clinton, in his presentation to All Saints’ Episcopal Day School students during their recent International Day.  Verma was invited to speak to the students and teachers at the end of the school day to give them a global perspective about all that they had studied. He explained how our government representatives try to work within the US and around the world on issues dealing with food, clothing, resources, religious or cultural conflicts, and how we still share common interests in music, sports, and our families.

   Verma is the uncle of fifth grader Colby Poston and his brother Cooper who is in second grade. Their mother Elizabeth was the primary organizer of the International Day event. She also taught and helped to perform an Armenian folk dance that she learned from her mother, and researched national anthems from the countries that the students were studying.

   All Saints’ students from 3K-6th grades started International Day watching a presentation about Haiti. “From Isaiah to Jeremiah to Jesus, God has told us to help feed those who are hungry, help people who are poor,” said art teacher and Haiti mission participant Lennie Boatwright. “In the country of Haiti, many people live in tents or under boats that have run ashore, and they have outdoor markets for food, clothing, and supplies that many of us may take for granted.” 

   Boatwright showed slides of people she met while she was helping to build the foundation for a library. She showed a large conch shell from one of the beaches, but explained the difficulty people have in finding clean water for drinking or bathing, and electricity for refrigeration or fuel for transportation. Her primary focus, however, was how each person could make a positive difference in the lives of Haitians or other people in need throughout our city, state, country, and other places in our world. 

   After chapel, students wore clothing and costumes from eight different countries for a “Parade of Nations” in the school’s multipurpose building. “We chose eight countries for the students to learn about this year,” said Parent Guild president Mindy Saverance, “including Russia, Egypt, Japan, Scotland, Poland, Haiti, Armenia, and Afghanistan. Each grade studied one of these countries, had guest speakers before and during International Day, and they worked very hard to create lively and interesting presentations about the different cultures, historical highlights, and current events.

   All of the 4K students wore Russian hats and did the Troika dance. Kindergarteners were dressed in various Egyptian costumes and talked about the pyramids, the Nile River, and told other facts about their country. First graders sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” in Japanese.  Second graders each recited a fact about Scotland, and their classmate Noah Pit, who moved to Florence from Scotland, recited a Scottish poem. “Stro Lat,” a traditional birthday song, was performed in Polish by the 3rd graders. All of the 4th graders did a Haitian dance, followed by a group of 5th graders and parent Elizabeth Poston doing an Armenian “line dance” and saying The Lord’s Prayer in Armenian. The 6th graders told about kite flying competitions in Afghanistan, and showed some of their homemade kites. 

   Several guest speakers made presentations before and during International Day. Captain Shawn Fitzgerald, US Army recruiter and father of twin 3K students, presented a program about Afghanistan. He explained the culture, current issues, geography, and answered lots of questions as he showed pictures and maps on a Promethean (interactive white) board. Pediatrician and All Saints’ alumnae Weave Whitehead dressed in his family’s tartan kilt and spoke to the 45 second graders about the history and culture of Scotland. Cathy Swartz gave a fun, interactive presentation with one of her daughters and other 4K students about Russia, showing photographs and apparel from that country.

   “The Parent Guild was very proud to sponsor this event and many volunteers were involved for several months to make this special and memorable,” said Mindy Saverance, president of this group. 

   “We were excited for all of the 346 students to learn about the world beyond All Saints’, Florence, and the United States,” she continued, “and we are looking forward to our next academic enrichment event in April when we sponsor “Farm Day,” a festival atmosphere on campus where we will focus on our agricultural heritage.  We will have an entomologist, a petting zoo, and lots of hands-on stations for students of all ages to learn about the Pee Dee area.”

   All Saints’ Episcopal Day School, founded in 1960 is a pre-college preparatory school. Headmaster Joan Pennstrom has been the school’s administrator for 16 years. “We have 23 classrooms, with certified teachers who love what they do, an amazing group of student, and our outstanding campus with the latest technology and safety,” she said. “We have continued to have a very high retention of students and teachers. All Saints’ has maintained a healthy combination of challenging academics within a nurturing, Christian environment.”

   To set up a tour or for information about the application process for 3K-6th grades, contact Beth Hopewell at 843-662-8134 or Open enrollment began February 6th.  

Galloway Mosley
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