International Day has become the largest event of the year for MANH, and if you attend this year, you will understand why. International Day is a spectacular event, but it takes months of hard work and planning, and the help of dozens of dedicated members of the community.
The planning for International Day starts at the beginning of the school year. Within the first few weeks, teachers and parents begin discussing what country they would like their class to represent. In many cases, due to the diversity of our school community, we are lucky enough to have a parent volunteer to teach a dance from their own cultural background, along with the help of the classroom teacher. In other cases, the teacher takes the lead role and learns a dance from a particular country. The most important part of all of this is practice! Most classes put in two solid months of practice for their dance, sometimes even more. The initial practices can be quite challenging, as the routine is new to everyone. By the time November comes around, you can see the tremendous progress that the kids have made in knowing the steps, and their practices begin to focus on timing and synchronization. In the weeks leading up to the performance, most classes try to fit in a practice session at least once per day. Everyone takes so much pride in this wonderful event, and they are willing to put in the time that it takes to make the performance great—with many parents spending a couple of extra hours per day at the school. In addition to improving the dance routine, this also has the added benefit of strengthening the school community. Parent volunteers get to know all of the students in their child’s class, they form an even stronger bond with the teacher, and they realize the importance of working together with the school to ensure the excellence of the program. We are so thankful to have these wonderful volunteers—without whom this event would not be the joyous celebration that it is.
The overall organization of the event is coordinated by Mrs. Sher, who makes sure that so many elements are in place, which ensures the success of International Day. Mrs. Sher has worked tirelessly over the years to make this the best event it can be, and if you have been with us for several years, you will know how far it has come. She also makes sure to have dozens of volunteers in place, taking care of many tasks, both large and small. Mrs. Sher’s dedication and commitment to the event inspires our volunteers, who come back each year to play their small role in the event.
International Day is primarily about the children and their dances. In the past years we saw dances from many countries from Asia and Europe to South America and Australia. The performances were outstanding, as usual. They were inspiring, entertaining, at times breathtaking, and sometimes even quite funny (you really have no idea how a child will react to being on stage in front of 700 people until he has his moment in the spotlight). International Day is also about the food! Many people look forward to tasting so many delicious dishes from so many diverse cuisines. You would have a very hard time finding that variety of delectable food at any other venue. We are again fortunate to have families with such strong cultural traditions who are able to highlight some of that culture in their food. It is a profoundly unique experience, and it gives you a deeper appreciation of the community to which we all belong. Beyond the dances and the food, International Day is about this wonderful community. It is about parents coming together to support their child, and their child’s school. It is about teachers getting to spend time with their students and their entire families. It is about grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, friends, neighbors, and anyone involved in the lives of the children. It is about the alumni who return each year to relive some of their greatest memories, and to visit with old friends. It is about this magnificent community, which quite frankly is hard to put into words…but if you have attended International Day, you undoubtedly know what I am talking about.Thank you again to everyone involved. It takes the hard work and support of each one of you to make this such a successful day, and you keep making it even better year after year!