Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Map of Tonga in the South Pacific

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hilliard: Culture Night

Early in term 3 we began talking about Culture Night in our staff meetings, which would be held at the end of term 3. Now if you're a teacher or have worked with children as a group, you know that programs and presentations with children don't just happen. They take a lot of time and effort. Culture Night was to be a fundraiser for the school. Each class chose a different country in the South Pacific to represent and to show something of the culture of that country.  Three weeks before the night, rehearsals began in earnest.  Sometimes the library was used, and I was an audience to their class performance. Teachers struggled to find information about the culture of the different countries that students could present as well as being entertaining. Presentations got changed and reworked. The PTA president is a businesswoman, and she wanted it to show Hilliard in the very best light, as many who came would not be parents, but from the community. She advertised on radio and tv, and provided tents for the night. As we got to the last few days and the final preparations, everyone was tired and stressed.  Finally, the day came.

Form 1 and Form 2 teachers go over last minute details on the morning of the program.

Class 6 students learn to weave palm leaves. They were used for the set on the stage during their presentation.

Setting up the stage.

There was a market of root crops, cakes, and other food donated by the parents for sale. The PTA president set up her restaurant with foods that were easy to serve, and all the proceeds from that night were donated to the school. The band from Beulah College (Seventh Day Adventist High School) played. The teachers sang a hymn, there was a prayer and welcome, and the program began. As the children performed, parents and others came on stage and gave them money. (The custom is to put it on the person, so the stage was a busy place as the students performed!) We learned about the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, the Maoris of New Zealand, etc.  We heard the national anthems, learned about history and geography, heard songs, and found out about customs. The costumes the children wore made it all come to life. An ambitious idea, having a Culture Night, was a success. Everyone went home tired, but pleased. 
Beulah College band entertains.

Teachers on stage after singing a hymn.

A class 1 group representing Papua New Guinea.
Class 2 showed Tongan culture. This was during the national anthem.

Class 4. Solomon Islands.

Class 5. Samoa.

Form 2 finale. The future of the South Pacific is in the hands of our children.

Two form 1 students ready to perform. Maori, New Zealand.

Class 6. Presenting shark hunting, Tongan style.

Form 1, Maori culture, New Zealand. You can see parents and others on stage, too, bringing their donations during the performance.
Class 6 and Form 1 and 2 students perform the final song, "Farewell."

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