Every year in October, Mission Basilica School presents a festival celebrating the unity of nations around the globe. In the weeks leading up to this celebration, classes study the history of their country, listen to guest speakers share international stories, learn new languages, and experience the rich culture of their country. All classes, Pre-K through eighth grade, learn traditional dances from various countries, which they rehearse for many weeks in their PE classes.
The culmination of this preparation is United Nations Day, a tradition held by Mission Basilica School for over 27 years. On Oct. 27 the parents and the community come together to celebrate mass in the Basilica, where they are treated to a choral program directed by Mrs. Renee Bondi. After mass, visitors are then encouraged to visit the “global village,” a recreation of each country built by our wonderful families. As the students enjoy a lunchtime feast, the guests can tour each intricately decorated booth while enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of each unique nation.
The grand finale of the event is a series of dances designed for each class by the school’s talented choreographer, Mrs. Ann-Marie McClellan. For each of the 10 grade levels, students dress in the traditional garments of their own country, including Austria, Bahamas, Ireland, China, Brazil, Philippines, England, Greece, Japan, and America in the 1770s. The students perform on the central blacktop to a full-capacity audience, as they whirl, jig, and pair together in a variety of exciting formations. The dance portion of UN Day closes with the song, “Sound of Peace,” in which all the students come together to celebrate global and spiritual unity.
This day is very important to the school and Catholic education because it allows the community to come together as one inclusive community of faith. It also allows the students to celebrate the many cultures and traditions of the world enabling students to become “globally aware citizens”, one of our school-wide learning expectations.