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Cultural Ties, Opening Eyes

2 September 2009

The young students welcome Team Liechtenstein.

The One School One Country program was an exciting event that took place Tuesday, September 1.

The One School One Country program is an initiative to teach international awareness to youth. The WorldSkills Competitors and Team Leader’s, visited one or two schools each, 55 local elementary and middle schools, in total, throughout Calgary, to see what young students have learned about the Competitor’s native lands.

Each school prepared a creative approach to celebrating the arrival of their special guests. From presentations, to line dancing, Competitors were given warm welcomes from keen Calgarian students.

Leslie, Grant and Siavash, student ambassadors, along with the rest of Brentwood School students, welcomed Team Singapore. They have been planning for this event for over a year, and were very excited to finally meet the team. Not only was every student in the school waving a small Singapore flag, but they had also displayed their homemade traditional lanterns, as a way to honour the traditions of Singapore.

Local school children enjoy meeting Team Norway.

At Marion Carson School, students lined the hallway, waving small flags of Japan with chants, drums and cheers as Team Japan entered the school. After students serenaded the Japanese visitors with Canada’s national anthem, Team Japan replied with a standing ovation. 

Team Denmark was presented with personal written letters, in creatively made bags, resembling the Danish flag, from the students at St. Bede. The students also presented the team with drawings and collages. The Competitors were touched from the hospitality and enthusiasm towards their country and plan to hang up the presents in their workshop areas.

At Saint Margaret School, Colombia was presented with a Canadian favorite from the land of Columbia- Tim Horton’s coffee gifts were given to team members. The Team Leader returned the favor by presenting the school with a sombrero vueltiado. Adriana Velez was there, a substitute teacher that is originally from Columbia. She heard about the visit to this school by Team Columbia and wouldn’t miss it for the world. She was touched to see such patriotism in the room for her home country.

After an hour together, new friendships had been made. Students at Briar Hill School served the Competitor’s with cold refreshments and sweets, and had an opportunity to chat one-on-one with Team Indonesia. “The best part of today was the cultural interchange. They will now be more interested in Indonesia and the rest of the world, which is what our goal was,” said Principal, Lois Reid.

The 55 school visits yesterday impacted over 25,000 students within the Calgary Board of Education and the Calgary Catholic School District.

Click here to see more pictures from the event.