Parade of Nations Puts Maxwell Elementary Back on Track
Maxwell Spanish Immersion Elementary rebooted its annual Parade of Nations in what new Principal Matthew Spottswood called a welcome return to routine. “The sense of normalcy is the biggest breath of fresh air,” he said as Maxwell celebrated its diverse population with a Friday morning assembly, adding, “Elementary school is supposed to be fun!”
More than 50 countries are represented at Maxwell, where the new theme is “Together We Shine.”
Spottswood, teacher David Mato, and other staff blended a colorful montage of national flags, native dress, music, videos, geography, and facts about their students’ countries of origin. “This is a special time to celebrate the rich cultural diversity that is unique to Maxwell Elementary,” Mato said.
The excited youngsters lined up outside and entered the gym by country, and the emcee called them up grouped by continent. Since Maxwell is an immersion school, most everything spoken was in Spanish. Classmates cheered as the students filed across the stage after leaving their country’s small paper flag in a flowerpot. “This is yet another way to show how a diverse community can come together like the many flowers in a garden in order to create a beautiful place for learning and living,” said librarian Lindsey Depenbrock.
The Sept. 23 event kicked off Maxwell’s monthly celebrations of Spanish-speaking countries. The program closed with two songs led by a teacher/staff band: “De Colores,” a Mexican folk song; and “El Mismo Sol,” which emphasizes that we are all citizens of the world despite geographic and political boundaries.
“This event creates great conversation at home between parents and their children. While we live in the United States, the students and families learn that we come from many places and cultures,” Depenbrock said. “It also promotes a strong sense of community among students as they share information about their ancestral heritage. This sense of community helps us to immediately appreciate our diversity while also finding ways in which we are more similar than originally thought.”