2017 Parade of Nations
November 10th marked the second year for the Parade of Nations, a celebration of the cultural diversity among the KICS community. With over 25 nationalities represented by students and staff, there is a wide range of differences in languages, behaviors and appearances. The parade is an opportunity for the diversity to be elaborately displayed.
The afternoon ceremony features a procession of each flag that represents the “heart-land” of the students and staff at KICS. The flag bearers march to the stage through cheers and the pomp of their country’s national anthem.
Sacha Mugisha, the Student Council Mission Officer, presented a charge based on 1 Corinthians 12:12. “Followers of Jesus are called to live out the unity that Christ purchased for them with His blood so as to function as a ‘body’. We are very diverse here at KICS, and this diversity has the potential to produce either trouble or beauty, and we have the ability to make sure it produces beauty by understanding one another!” Sacha had recently spoken at Mission Time alongside Eric Davenport, Director of Mission, who declared that the way to gain unity is not through mere tolerance, but through understanding.
The KICS Student Council is responsible for hosting the Parade of Nations. The concept was envisioned by one of last year’s Student Council officers, Alvin Nsengimana and was refined and brought to life by the collaborative efforts of the student organization, led by Student President Alexis Hixson. The baton was rightfully passed to Alvin’s brother, Hans, who carried the passion for the event, under the student leadership of Audrey Muhirwa.
When asked about the organization of such a large event, Audrey said, “Planning for the Parade of Nations required a lot of focus on the vision of what the event could be while taking care of a lot of details that often go unnoticed at the actual event: from ordering flags, to placing bouquets, all the way to setting up and taking down. The behind the scenes of the Parade of Nations looks like meetings at 7:30am every week, a lot of lunch meetings, and collaboration over social media. The Student Council has really dedicated a lot of their time to serving the community to the best of their abilities. I’m really grateful for a hardworking and collaborative team that made it all happen. I especially want to thank Hans Nsengimana, who was our point person for this event.”
The Student Council takes its guidance from staff sponsor, Chad McNatt. “Student Council is committed to embracing the rich diversity at KICS and doing whatever it takes to cultivate and guard an atmosphere of unity among our students. The Parade of Nations exemplifies not only our student leaders’ ownership and passion for a diverse and unified culture, but offers a taste of heaven, a picture of a day when all nations will gather together as one,” said Mr. McNatt.
This year’s audience was entertained by three cultural acts: student Katelyn Mundockil performed an Indian Dance, Patrick Finnerty led the audience in a traditional Irish sing-a-long and a group of KICS students presented Rwandan dance featuring Klevis Muhirwa as the Intore dancer.
Francis Gatare, CEO of Rwanda Mines, Petroleum & Gas Board, was the guest speaker. Mr. Gatare praised KICS for its proactive embrace of many cultures. He went on to encourage the community to continue to move forward in its many aspects of diversity. He was thankful that in his home country of Rwanda, his kids can grow up in a global setting that is truly unique. Mr. Gatare called on his various global experiences to encourage students, parents and staff to continue to celebrate its beautiful diversity here at KICS.
One of the most popular parts of this festival is the participation of the entire community through clothing. Students, staff and even parents show their national pride by wearing traditional clothing, or at least wearing the colors of their country’s flag. The visual tapestry of textures and colors is one of the best examples of how the many cultures are woven together into one family.
When asked about this year’s Parade, Hans Nsengimana responded, “The large turnout from the parents who invited uncles, aunts and even grandparents was overwhelming and showed how much the community loves this event. Many people told me this event should be a tradition at our school to celebrate who we are together, but also as individuals.”
One of the values of KICS is to foster a ‘Global Family’. This value is stated as: “Each person created, is an image bearer of God. At KICS, we value the diversity of creation by God the Father over all people, from every country and culture. As such, KICS values and respects the global nature of our family that comes from various countries of the world and is sent out to various countries of the world.” The Parade of Nations is one of the moments in the school year that this value is not only evident, but exalted.