Of all the events in our vibrant school calendar, what sets International Day apart? Is it the food festival where parent volunteers work together to dish out delicious foods from not only their regions, but others that don’t have as many representatives as well? Is it the flag parade where students proudly showcase how diverse a community we as a school are and where every country’s flag-bearer gets cheered on for their confidence? Is it because it is an occasion where everyone gets to celebrate and share their home country’s heritage and culture through costumes, language, and more?
The truth is, it is all of those reasons and one more. For us, International Day exemplifies our school values – of international mindedness, respecting each other and where we come from, collaborating with each other and showing kindness and empathy.
With International Day being celebrated as a whole school event without any restrictions this year, emotions ran high among many of us. It was wonderful to welcome parents back on campus not just as volunteers for the food festival but as the audience and cheering squad for our splendid student-led flag parade as well.
At our Nanyang campus, everyone also got to enjoy the flash mob sequence by Grade 2 and 3, and the cultural performances by Secondary students, the Primary Orchestra and the Young Voices Primary Choir in the assemblies.
Over at OWIS Suntec, the mood was equally joyous. Besides the flag parade and food fair, the campus also hosted parents as mystery readers who shared stories from their home countries in their native languages. The students loved the opportunity to learn new words and expand their knowledge of world languages!
As Mr Mark Renie, Head of School, said in his speech in the whole school assembly, “At OWIS, we are so lucky and so privileged to be part of a community that welcomes members from more than 70 countries and more than 100 different cultures and languages. We should never take it for granted. Diversity takes work; it doesn’t come easily. Diversity expects us to listen, to be passionate, to be open minded, to accommodate views that are different from ours. Every day at OWIS, I get to see that diversity on display when you are all with your friends in the classroom and outside and you all break down barriers through play, collaboration and laughter. You are an example to everyone. I am proud of all of you in the community.”
Our thanks to the organising committees of both campuses, the OWIS Parent Committee and all the wonderful parent volunteers, and all the teachers who made this day truly seem like we are “One World, One Community”.