Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy Anniversary Karl Weiss!

Karl Weiss is a national primary and secondary school in Chiclayo. It is a tradition of the school to celebrate each annual anniversary with a week of activities. This year marks the 49th year of existence, and is also the 30th anniversary of Maribel’s 1980 graduating class.

There was an open house Saturday for alumni and any other interested visitors. The schedule of events indicated teachers would be on site at 9:00am to conduct mock classes with former students. We arrived at 9:30 to find freshly painted buildings but nobody there except a very angry school director who was fuming to no one in particular about the lack of organization. A student who happened to walk past at that moment was collared by the director and made to clean a restroom. Life is not always fair.

Maribel had no problem locating her former classroom and remembered exactly where she sat. Eventually one of her classmates showed up, but when we left two hours later there was no indication that anything was going to take place on this day, though it was still enjoyable to watch Maribel revisiting fond memories.

The parade on Sunday was a completely different story. It is a huge event. A ten square block area in the heart of downtown was closed off to accommodate all of the parade participants, which included at least 20 other schools who were invited to take part. Most parades involve military-style marching. There is competition involved, with prizes awarded for the best groups.

In the reviewing stand is Mayor Roberto ‘Beto’ Torres, the school director and teachers. The three young ladies hold the titles of Miss Karl Weiss, Miss Sports, and Miss Sympathy. The military officers seated below the stand are serving as judges for the marching competition. These kids work hard on their routines. The ‘goose step’ is the basic chorography.

Chiclayo’s mayor is a Weiss graduate. Mayoral elections are held next month, and participation allowed him to show his school spirit and do a lot of hand shaking. I think he’s a shoo-in but what do I know? After I took this photo a voice was heard asking.., “Who is the gringo taking photos?” Another voice responded with – “I think he’s the German Consulate.”

The proudly marching members of the class of 1980. I was impressed with the deep feelings the alumni showed for each other and for their school. At the close of the parade all of the classes got together for photos, shouted school cheers and exchanged phone numbers. The streets and adjoining restaurants were packed with exuberant revelers long after the parade had ended.

Not surprisingly the class of 1980 had lost track of each other, even though half of them still live in Chiclayo. They took the opportunity to catch up and talk about old times over ceviche and beer at a popular restaurant nearby. They are an interesting group of people and we’re looking forward to seeing them again for lunch tomorrow, which marks the end of this year’s celebration.

Tom & Maribel

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