Monday, September 29, 2014

A Celebration of School Spirit

Every year Chiclayo’s national schools celebrate their anniversaries. The extent of the celebrations is determined by the financial resources and determination of the alumni. Most are modest and take place without public notice. On the other extreme are the celebrations of schools Karl Weiss and San Jose. Both schools stage a weekend extravaganza.

Activities begin on a Friday night with outdoor entertainment performed by various musical groups. In between performances the crowd sings school songs and there is a lot of ‘rah rah’ cheering. As the night wears on the crowd becomes younger and the beer flows.

Activity on Saturday involves meeting at the school where former students occupy their old seats in their old classrooms and are lectured to by retired professors. Next there is food served and lots of conversation takes place among people who may not have seen each other in years. Later in the afternoon former students take part in friendly soccer competition.   

Sunday starts with a huge parade that other schools and organizations are invited to march in. The parade begins at the Plaza de Armas and ends at the reviewing stand on Balta Ave. City and other dignitaries applaud the marching units and award prizes. Following the parade classmates usually meet in a restaurant to unwind and eat ceviche. Later that night they’ll meet again for a repeat of Friday night’s activity. 

San Jose celebrated their 155th anniversary this past weekend…. the school goes back to 1859. Individual graduating classes march in the parade and given the age of the school we wondered what year the earliest graduating class would be. After some searching we located this gentleman. He is 90 years old and is believed to be the last living member of the 1942 graduating class. He has problems walking but otherwise is in good physical and mental condition. Though there may have been others, the next earliest class we saw was 1953.

These men graduated in 1959. That has a special significance to me because it’s possible that on the same day they were graduating in Chiclayo I was graduating in Milwaukee, never dreaming that 55 years later I would be watching a different graduating class march in a parade in a place called Chiclayo Peru.

We look forward to these events. There are always large crowds at the parades and lots of infectious enthusiasm. It’s hard not to get caught up into the spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment