By: Fiona Haze
“So whatever happened to UN Day?” — is a question many students may ask as the end of the year is rapidly approaching. Will it take place this year?
The answer is yes – UN Day is set to take place on the 25th of November, however, it will look slightly different from the previous years. The PTO Vice President, Ms. Rupalia Dua, gave Warrior News more insight into the changes and planning process.
When discussing who is planning the event, Ms. Dua says that there are six members in the “very strong” PTO team, who are in charge of planning UN Day. Nevertheless, it is an ASW tradition that the Vice President is officially in charge. “Keeping in line with that tradition”, Ms. Dua states that she “continues to do it this year, but it is the entire PTO team” responsible for organizing the event.
As to how UN Day will look like this year, M. Dua responds that “UN Day will look beautiful.” While the food, mixing of cohorts and other festivities will be missed, what the PTO has in plan is “absolutely beautiful” says Ms. Dua. The idea this year is “to do all of the events virtually” and that the theme of UN Day is going to be “unity and peace through compassion, kindness and hope.”
When school started – when there was no lockdown – the plan was to conduct a “car parade for UN Day.” The PTO “thought that they would have every country come to school in cars, pretty similar to what the closing day was,” says Ms. Dua. “The only difference would have been that children would line up along the parking lot and countries with decorated cars would drive past and little treats would be given away.” However, with the “second lockdown, all of that couldn’t happen.”
In response to the challenges set by the second lockdown, UN Day was moved up one month as the PTO was waiting for “some regulations to be clear and to see how things would evolve.” This is when the PTO changed their minds, coming to the conclusion they could hold a virtual event instead.
The goal this year is that each country is recording a video with “five fun facts”. However, some countries have given more input whereas others may have given less. “Regardless, each of these contributions are precious”, says Ms. Dua. “It is so beautiful, because this year we have taken UN Day preparations home to create meaningful content and bring it back to share with everyone. Communities have come together, not by recording the videos together in one house, but everybody has done their pieces in their respective houses.” These videos have then been compiled and edited using different platforms such as iMovie by ASW students and families. All in all, 35 countries are getting represented this year through videos.
She continues, “the second thing we have done to bring out the diversity in our school is that all the countries that are presenting have sent in a video in which they say the five words “unity, peace, compassion, kindness and hope in their native language. This will be strung together into one combined video.”
A “youtube playlist” has also been created, within which each student can “add to their playlist.” Each country has sent in a song suggestion to create this playlist and, overall, around 35 songs are part of the list. For the elementary school students, a competition will be held in relation to this playlist. They will take a multiple-choice quiz and receive rewards after Thanksgiving Break.
Lastly, on Wednesday at 9:45am, a live screening of the UN Day assembly will be held by Mr. Zurfluh, in which it is the “seniors privilege this year to carry the flags.” “Typically, one senior and one younger child will hold each country’s flag, but because of cohort mixing, that cannot happen this year,” Ms. Dua adds.
Overall, Ms. Dua hopes that what the ASW community will take away from the UN Day event is a sense of belonging, togetherness and joy in everything we do, even though it is virtual. Ms. Dua quotes Ellen DeGeneres – “we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.”
Jake L. (12) who currently is in virtual learning, says that what he will miss about UN Day this year is “the food stations” and “walking around with friends and tasting” different foods. He also suggests that one possibility of extending UN Day would be for advisories to hold some activities to “make up for the lack of stations.” “Maybe an advisory trivia or kahoot activity,” he suggests.