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Alvernia Prep kids enjoy early Jamaica Day festivities

Published:Friday | February 25, 2011 | 12:00 AM
These little ones at Alvernia Prep wait patiently before performing in Kingston yesterday. - Photos by Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Students at Alvernia Preparatory School get ready to perform at the institution's Jamaica Day celebrations.

Laura Redpath, Senior Gleaner Writer

Signs of nationalism pointed to Jamaica Day celebrations as children's voices carried across the Alvernia Prep School courtyard in Kingston yesterday.

"My advice is there's nothing nicer than dip and fall back!" the children sang with glee.

Although typically recognised on the last Friday in February, Alvernia Prep had its Jamaica Day celebrations yesterday to allow the debate team, which will be away from school today, to participate.

The open courtyard inside the school's entrance was lined with potted plants and Jamaican symbols such as a chalkboard decorated with drawings of the national flag.

"Our children know too much about America and not enough about Jamaica," Alvernia Prep principal Sherol Dixon-Lewis said, as she stressed the importance of Jamaica Day.

"Coconut drops? (The students) had no idea what it was ... we need to bring back national pride."

Hortense Hudson, cultural coordinator and resource-room teacher, played the role of the vibrant and engaging master of ceremonies.

"They are the Tainos. Go look pon yuh coat of arms again!" she said, playfully reprimanding parents who said the indigenous Tainos on the coat of arms were "Indians and Chinese".

The auditorium, decorated with black, green and yellow balloons was filled with eager and smiling faces from preschool to first grade.

"This is the land of my birth," sang 11 preschoolers, all lined up in a neat row, some rubbing their eyes or scratching their heads.

Memories of youth

But the kindergarten children's performance of Ska Time to Jamaican ska transported the audience back to the 1960s and people were on their feet.

The principal, a past student of Lawrence Tavern Primary, said yesterday brought back some memories of her youth.

"I really appreciate all the performances," she said with a smile. "They all take me back to my school days."

She added: "These students will taste dip and fall back, but we were actually taught how to cook it."

In addition to celebrating Jamaica Day, the school also acknowledged human-rights leaders, such as Nelson Mandela - anti-apartheid activist and former president of South Africa - out of respect for Black History Month.