Wahat al-Salam - Neve Shalom
June 25: At 5pm you could find the 4th grade and their family gathered on the lawn of the playground. This was the first event of a joyful evening that lasted until nearly 11pm and included performances and celebrations by the 3rd, 4th and finally 6th grade.
The 4th grade performance was a variety of sport, dance, and music, with each group of children showing off their talents. Then students and families returned to the 4th grade classroom for a party, and to see the artwork the students had prepared.
As the 4th grade celebrations came to a close the 3rd graders were ready to start their show. Their show had two parts. The first included a variety of songs, dance and performances of sport, and the second involved the children’s grandmothers (many of whom had come in to see the show). This year the 3rd grade had done a project in which each child wrote a story from their grandmother and today they were going to receive a book compiling all these stories. Each family was to receive a copy of the book and the teachers played a game in handing them out. The teachers would read out a fact about a grandmother and the corresponding grandma/child pair would go up to collect the book. When all the books had been handed out it was time for the 3rd grade party as the children and their family had all brought in food and drinks for the celebration.
As dusk fell, an audience of parents, siblings, friends, alumni and villagers found their places to sit on the lawn. They were also joined by Fr. Paul Saouma, from the nearby Monastery in Latrun. After a few words on 6th grade from their teacher Reem Nashef and principal Anwar Dawood, and well wishes from others, it was time for the play to begin.
After weeks upon weeks of rehearsing, the 6th graders were now ready to share their play with their families and friends. With humour, music, dance, and even performances of sport, there was a place for each 6th-grader to display their talents. The play followed the story of two siblings looking for the ‘perfect family’. Finding each family has its own advantages and setbacks, they finally return to their own family. In the end they learn about the school at WASNS, where they can learn in Arabic and Hebrew. All the lines in the play were delivered in either Arabic or Hebrew and sometimes switched between the two, which the children did with ease.
Only last month, one of the 6th graders, when asked what she liked most about her time at WASNS primary, said this school was “like a second family”. Tonight the roots of that sentiment were clear. From the equal warmth and attention given to each child as they received their diplomas to the whole community feel of the event itself. As a community-based school that has been going for 3 decades, it is only natural that there was such a familial atmosphere. Many school alumni from the village were in the audience, including one of the school-founders’ son and his children who now attend the school themselves. School alumni from the village were even involved in the production of the play, as Tali Sonnenshein had arranged all the choreography and Omer Shuster was in charge of light and sound.
After the play, and having received their diplomas, the children gave their thanks to all who helped them and presented their teachers with flowers. There were also words of thanks and well wishes for the future from teachers, parents’ committee members and the school principal. A jovial and fitting end to the school year.
The End of the Year graduation of the 6th grade was also a time for the school to part with its current principal, WASNS resident Anwar Dawood, who has been one of the school’s most significant educators since the School’s early days and has twice served as principal. Members of the parents’ committee, teachers and a representative of the Mateh Yehuda Regional Council education department offered many words of appreciation and thanks.
Anwar in turn, thanked everyone and presented the new principal for the coming school year, Ms. Carmela Farber, who spoke of her excitement in taking up this new role, and said she hoped she would prove worthy of the challenge. Ms. Farber has most recently been principal of a primary school in Bat Yam, however as a resident of nearby Karmeh Yosef, she is practically a neighbor. In a future article we will have more to say about the transition and about Carmela, the new principal.
The School first opened its gates in September 1984. As the school breaks for the long summer holiday, we look forward to the start of the 2014 - 2015 school year.