We all had a busy morning on Harry's graduation day. Harry had to be at the kimono dresser's by 7:30 because Baachan, who dressed Yoshi, had to zip off to the hospital with Jiichan's suit so that he could get dressed and come out to see Harry graduate, then go back to do all the bill paying and such so that he could be discharged properly. I had to take Harry to the dresser's and then rush back. Seiju took Harry to school and then came back to pick me up, now properly dressed myself. Yoshi couldn't come because he had a class play that they had been rehearsing for about three months now. The only performance, at exactly the same time as Harry's graduation. The teacher said she'd send a video which was very kind of her. Back to Harry!
We arrived just a few minutes before Jiichan and Baachan, who slipped in the back and actually got seats with the best view as they were staggered across the gangway. No heads in front of them! The gym was decorated with flowers and the sixth graders art works, some of which are on the back wall behind Jiichan and Baachan.
The sixth graders lined up in the corridor in name order, and entered when their names were called. When Yoshi graduated from this school four years ago a trend was started when he decided to wear hakama (the skirt that goes over kimono and was worn by scholars and samurai). Since then every year there have been one or two kids who wear kimono. This year there was another innovation with the boy behind Harry deciding that he would wear his baseball team uniform. I think it's great that they are allowed to choose freely and to express what is important to them. There were two kids in Hakama this year and the rest wore the uniform of their future junior high schools. Most elementary schools feed into one or at most two junior high schools, but because kids from anywhere in the city can attend this school, our class of fourteen is splitting off into seven or eight different schools. It was interesting to see all the different uniforms.
There were pots of violas lining the walkways, next to each student, and next to all the guests. These were grown by the sixth graders themselves.
Waiting for the ceremony to start. The red and white bunting is a celebratory tradition and is hung at happy ceremonies and festivals. The calligraphy was done by the sixth graders, each choosing a motto for themselves. The kids you can see give or take ten or so shaved off the edge of the photo is the entire school population.
Once everyone had been called in, they stood by their seats facing the rest of the school and guests. They had decorated the stage with big portraits of each kid (Harry is up there, top right!) and in the centre a big screen that had photos and details projected up as the ceremony progressed.
One by one their names were called and each walked up in ceremonial fashion to the dais where the headmaster was standing.
The headmaster handed them their certificates,
then they walked down to the rest of the school and parents, across the gym and to the head of the PTA on the other side. There they stopped and made a short statement about themselves and their plans for junior high school,
This was another project - an action shot of a figure in sports. Harry did an ice skater falling over!
All the teachers and kids formed an arch that the graduating kids walked through and out of the school.
Then it was mass photo op time! With parents.....
With classmates - in varying poses and combinations!
.... and with friends.....