The moment Bill Clinton Hadam had been waiting for all semester came last Thursday, when his class stood up to sing. All week, ICS students put on dance, theater, and musical performances and class parties, to mark the end of term. The celebrations favored winter themes, avoided religious content, and steered pretty clear of Christmas. Bill and fellow ESOL students capped off the resulting performances when they rose to sing his favorite song: "We are the children of the world, and we are rising up."The celebrations began, last Tuesday, with dancing. Kindergartners through second graders in ICS Dance shirts and shiny black pants showed off the moves they've learned after school this semester. Thayoomoo, in a giant white tutu, frowned in concentration, until she and the second-grade ballet girls nailed their final formation and the lunchroom echoed with cheers. Her brother and the kindergartners performed too, in tiny colored cowboy hats adorned with lollipops; their teacher looked less like she was coaching a troupe of dancers and more like she was herding a bunch of tiny, giggling cats. At the end, amid a chorus of congratulations, the kids pulled the candy off their hats and devoured it.Then, there was food, always a highlight of ICS life. Parents brought samosas, curries, guacamole, couscous and noodle dishes to classroom celebrations, where teachers pulled student desks together into long tables running diagonally down the center of the classrooms. A staff-made supply of cakes, cookies and fudge overtook the tiny kitchen counter in the main office. Parent Marney Mayo went on a "baking rampage," producing tubs of oatmeal-chocolate-chip confections. Third-grade teacher Ann Griffith's class, in the middle of a unit on nutrition, made smoothies in the unseasonably warm weather.
Thursday was a big day for fourth grade; at lunchtime, students put on an exhibition on colonial life, complete with shortbread cookies, costumes, a model town, and a performance of the Virginia Reel.
Principal Laurent Ditmann showed up in costume as usual, but amid all the other finery, from hand-me-down prom dresses to one outfit that was a dead ringer for Little Bo Peep's, his tights and tricorn hat caused barely a stir.
Meantime, in the main building, kindergarten teachers walked the halls jingling slightly, from the bells on their felt antlers.
But the real event of the day was the pantomime. In the British tradition of Christmas irreverence, fourth graders wrote a play, the premise of which was that, thanks to the recession and the prevalence of violence on TV, all the good old fairytale characters - Peter Pan, Little Red Riding Hood, and Htwe and Myo's daughter Ei [link to "no child" story] as a sassy Snow White - were out of work. Their quest to recapture the limelight involved a witch, several Bad Wolves, some Wicked Stepsisters, Captain Hook, an election campaign that pitted Burger King against Tinkerbell, a gratuitous cow, and a riotous soccer match among all of the above. If nuances of plot and script were lost on some young audience members, they thrilled to the essentials. When two booby-trapped Bad Wolves smacked themselves in the face with shaving cream, the crowd went wild.