Volunteer Spotlight: Kindergarten Graduation

Today was the day of the esteemed and much awaited day of Kindergarten graduation.  For some reason, it is a very big deal in Ghana.  An elegant set up was created for the event complete with large speakers, chairs and tables.  The event was supposed to start at 10 am, but like always it did not begin until noon.  The entire lower school was in attendance as well as all the teachers.  Many members from the Parent Teachers Association as well as the Ghana Board of Education were present for the ceremony. To our surprise, nearly every parent of the children was sure to make an appearance.  The music, as always, was being played at a ridiculously high volume, and it was the same songs over and over again.

Kindergarten Graduation 1

The ceremony began with a prayer and then introductions.  The event was run by the master of ceremonies and one of the school’s teachers, Somaila.  He does a great job controlling the order of the program and interacting with the audience.  The ceremony contained many traditions, the first of which involved the kindergarten class standing coming on stage and performing a song for the audience.  The students then proceeded to change into athletic clothes to play games.  Everyone transitioned over to the fields to watch the children compete in tug of war, sack races, and spoon balancing races.  It was adorable to watch and the parents enjoyed the fun competition.

Kindergarten Graduation - Sac RaceKindergarten Graduation - Tug Rope

After the field games had finished, the students changed into their cultural uniforms.  They performed a play and then a cultural dance they had been working hard on all semester.  Still in their same uniforms, each child stepped up to the podium and recited a poem of their choice.  This took some time as you can imagine, but it was a pleasure to hear the students that were strong public speakers.  For students that performed particularly well, parents and others from the audience would throw money at them to donate towards the school.  One boy cried every time he had to speak publicly, this brought much laughter from the student body and I felt so bad for him.

The class then went into the library to change into their blue graduating gowns complete with caps and kente cloth lining.  During this time, the lower school held a dance competition to pass the time.  Finally the kindergarten class returned in their robes and strolled two by two onto the center stage to receive their official diplomas.  After each student received his/her certificate their picture was taken with their respective parents who were in attendance, which was mostly mothers.  Every mother in the audience seemed to be carrying a baby which I also found interesting.

Kindergarten Graduation 2

The ceremony crawled on in typical Ghanaian fashion with more announcements and presentations. I was amazed at the patience exercised by the rest of the lower class school-mates that continued watching attentively.  Many pictures were taken throughout the ceremony by a hired photographer and I was flabbergast to see some parents in the audience already holding printed pictures of their child!  I discovered later that the dj’s had brought a printer on site which the man was using to print pictures straight from his digital camera.  It was actually a great idea and the man was surely turning a nice profit.

After many grueling hours the ceremony finally came to a close. Mmaa and Bill both looked very pleased with the way things went and it was great to witness such a meaningful milestone event in the children’s lives.  It was especially nice to see Mohammed, one of the children from the house, graduate with his classmates.

Kindergarten Graduation

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