Thursday, June 23, 2011

School Goes Out Fighting...

One thing the Basque people are never short on is finding ways to enjoy themselves and the company of others. The end of the school year is no exception, and yes teachers in all countries are always up for a good party.

Friday the 17th was the last Friday of the school year and was the all school party. According to the girls, the party started about 9:30 with all school games on the patio. I missed that part so I don't have much in the way of details.

However, at 12:30 the parents were invited. The afternoon started with graduation which consisted of the fifth graders handing the sixth graders their framed class picture. After the hugs and pictures, the incredibly awesome music teacher who is retiring, was presented with a violin. She had been talking about learning to play during her retirement. Then the festivities began.

First there were a series of musical performances, a very entertaining play by 4th & 5th graders using idioms, followed by dances done by all the grades. Here are some pictures as my video shoot didn't work out so well. (Oh, and Morgan's wrist wrap, just 8 year old drama...)

Following the dance, hunger had definitely set in. It was a beautiful sunny day and banquet tables and chairs had been set up on the grass in the shade. We joined a group that had ordered delivery of cheeseburgers, roasted chicken, tortilla patata, and croquetas. Do potatoes count as vegetables? We served the kids first. As we were serving, the teachers, who had a few tables reserved that extended off of our section, were bringing out food that made for a banquet. It wasn't large pots of things to share but rather a typical Spanish-style celebratory lunch. The "first plate" was a series of beautifully designed appetizers, or pintxos as they are known here. This was followed by "larger food" and then dessert. The kids had finished eating before all the teachers' food made it to the table.

At this point I began thinking, "this could never happen at the kid's school in the states." First off following the meal was the water gun fight. A water fight could definitely happen on school grounds in the states but I'm not so sure that the "gun" version would be acceptable. While the kids enjoyed that, under the supervision of the extracurricular activities monitors, the parents and teachers ate, and drank. Drank, yes, that's the other part that could never happen in the states. Some people brought wine and beer. The teachers even had bottles of champagne. No one by any means got out of hand. It is quite typical during the large meal eaten between 2:30-4pm in Spain that wine is served. The school patio was no exception, apparently.

Eventually the teachers headed home but several families stayed on. We were there until around 7:30pm. Once the kids had enough water, there were games as well as face painting, molding clay, and other art options.

The rest of the events to end the year were kid-only activities such as cleaning their things out of the class room, a class party and an all school field trip to Salinas de Añana. As with all school trips here, the parents are not asked to chaperone. In addition to an educational experience, the students enjoyed a salt spa, picnic, and yet another water fight. According to the Morgan it was superrequetebien. They returned tired but happy.

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