Parkland Celebrates Achievements in Drama & Multiculturalism

seussical 130_97Parkland Elementary School staff and students presented a Spring Musical called “Seussical Jr.”  With the Cat in the Hat (Lauren Penner), Horton the Elephant (Colin Magi), and other beloved Dr. Suess characters brought to life, this production was enjoyed by many over its two-day run.

Directed by Mr. Joel Swaan and produced by Ms. Theresa Klassen, the story centered around Horton the Elephant, who finds himself faced with a double challenge--not only must he protect his tiny friend Jojo (Annika Refler) and all the invisible Whos from a world of naysayers and dangers, but he must guard an abandoned egg, left to his care by the irresponsible Mayzie La Bird (Nicole Klassen). Although Horton faces ridicule, danger, kidnapping and a trial, the intrepid Gertrude McFuzz (Willow Froese) never loses faith in him, the only one who recognizes "his kind and his powerful heart." Ultimately, the powers of friendship, loyalty, family and community are challenged and emerge triumphant.

Public performances were April 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. There were also 4 performances during the days for about 1500 students from GVSD. With 6 performances in 2 days, all were exhausted when it was over. But everyone agreed that the end result was truly magical. Students from grade 5-8, and almost every single staff member at Parkland, were involved in some way with the production. It was truly a community effort. The first Spring Musical at Parkland was a resounding success!

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A special celebration of diversity and multiculturalism also took place at Parkland School this past school year. On November 25, 2011, students, staff and community participants and volunteers joined together to showcase and celebrate the many cultures and experiences that make up our community. Kicking off the event was a flag-bearing ceremony, with Parkland students proudly entering the gym as representatives of their countries of origin. A major part of the day then involved students moving (every half-hour) through 19 different "stations," where they learned about other countries and cultures through participation in games, music, literature, and food. Cultural stations featured in the celebration included: Jamaica, Burkina Faso, Mexico, Old Colony, China, Aboriginal, Germany, Italy, Inuit, Paraguay, Ethiopia, and Canada. Students also had a chance to sample foods from other countries prepared by members of the community.

As a unique and rare highlight in the day, renowned Canadian children's entertainer Fred Penner made a special visit to Parkland School to offer up a performance for the school community. Through lively entertainment and song, Penner was able to encourage the students to appreciate the diversity that makes up their community.

In preparation for this event, Parkland staff surveyed the students to see where they are from. Aiming to feature different stations each year, as well as calling attention to social justice issues, are also goals that staff have for the cultural day. The recognition and celebration of cultural diversity in our learning communities is a school goal for Parkland Elementary School, as well as a major divisional objective for GVSD.

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