2018 Parade of Nations
November 16, 2018 marked the third annual Parade of Nations celebrating over 30 different countries represented in Kigali International Community School. Anthems were playing as students walked with their flags and stopped at the front to say hello in their native language. Elementary students were screaming the names of their classmates walking down the aisle and parents were pulling out their smartphones to take videos of them. The performers poured themselves into their performances and the art display from elementary students representing their cultures was amazing. Students, parents and staff walked in with their traditional attire. Parade of Nations was an exhilarating experience.
The KICS Student Council has led the Parade of Nations for the last three years, paying attention to all of the details. There is a lot that the Student Council officers and delegates do behind-the-scenes. From organizing the speaker and performers, to running rehearsals, to even setting up the chairs, Student Council puts their whole into the event. Personally, being a flag bearer at last year’s event to helping with the organization this year was a big transition. Helping the flag bearers when they arrived on stage, supervising performances backstage brought the same nervousness of the performers before they stepped on stage. It was exhilarating to hear the crowd cheer and watch them dance for each representative.
Annabelle, the Student Council president, had a large responsibility in the success of the event. She says, “Organizing the Parade of Nations was very daunting because there are a lot of logistics to consider and details to meticulously work through. My team and I started planning the event months ahead, and we had to organize everything from ordering flags, seating arrangements, sound systems and media pieces, and long afternoons coaching student led performances. This year, our theme is ‘Connect’ and throughout all the meetings planning the ceremony, our vision was for the whole community to connect in celebration of our diversity. The most fulfilling part of the event was to see the pride and joy on the faces of students, parents and teachers as their country’s flag was parading down the aisle. Despite the hard work and stress leading up to the event, seeing the community celebrate and learn together was a blissful experience.” The fruits of bringing people together to organize this event were evident as people really enjoyed it.
There were two speakers at this year’s Parade of Nations event. The first was Sacha Mugisha, a junior at KICS and the Student Council missions officer. He shared, “We do not have to see eye to eye with one another to work together and experience community.” He gave the example of the angels on either side of the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant. The angels had their wings touching but they were looking down. He described that as a biblical symbol for working together.
The keynote speaker was Richard Tusabe, Commissioner General of the Rwanda Revenue Authority, who also shared about unity and diversity. He emphasized that students should appreciate the diversity they are exposed to even at a young age. They should also not take the ability go to school for granted.
This year, we had a taekwondo performance by 3 students from South Korea, an Indian Dance performed by Katelyn Mundockil, the performance of African Dream by Ms. Morris, a teacher from South Africa, and a traditional Rwandese dance performed by 15 high school students.
The crowd was packed with students, their family members and others from the community who had come to celebrate diversity and unity at KICS. As a special treat this year, we were joined by educational leaders from around the world who were visiting Kigali as part of the B2TheWorld Global Educators Gathering.
I would say that it even though there was a lot of work to do it was not burdensome because Parade of Nations is a symbol of the school’s unity. Psalm 133:1 says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.” We came together to celebrate each culture represented in this school and show each individual that we appreciate them. KICS stands out because of its diversity but coming together and rejoicing in that is even more beautiful. This KICS tradition celebrates the differences in our community and it should be treasured.
By Wema Kiba,
Student Council Secretary