Bands, Decorations, and Marches - Oh my!
How NPH Honduras celebrated Honduras' Independence Day.
October 23, 2016 - Honduras
Weekends on El Rancho Santa Fe can be a blur of activity and movement. While the kids do get to sleep in later than normal, the daytime is still filled with ranch-wide chores, night hours see the home brought together for group activities, and high school and college pequeño/as come back to the ranch to lend a hand to staff in all areas of the home. For the past several months, another noise has been added to the already boisterous weekend schedule. The brass blares and crashing snares of the marching band has been preparing for Independence Day.
Every Saturday at 8 a.m., as well as several weekdays after class hours, the band could be heard across the ranch, as the 20 or so pequeño/as prepared for the giant parade that took place in the nearby town of Talanga. When the big day came, September 15th, the band, along with the rest of the ranch, piled into buses to head to the town where the band would play and hundreds of other pequeño/as would march, dance, or play along with them, all in costume.
Independence Day is one of the larger celebrations on the ranch, with hours and hours of preparation put into it across all areas of the home. No such area, though, has seen more time and effort put into the big day than the school.
"We have four quarters that divide the year, and in the third quarter, we focus on Independence Day, which represent the heroes of the country and national symbols," says the school's principal, Profe Jessyka Palacios. "Regular classes will cover more in depth the history, while art classes will make drawings and paintings of national heroes, or the flag for the little ones, for example." Perhaps the most independence-themed grade are those in sixth grade. This is where students have been learning about the importance of national symbols and especially the flag. "They learn the official proper flag raising ceremony, how to present it and fold it properly, and things like that, which they get to practice all month."
After all their education and civic preparation, the students got to show off what they learned to the larger Honduran community in Talanga. "At the parade, we had the students sectioned off into different themes about Honduras," explained principal Jessyka. "The littlest ones were the environment; the middle-aged ones were the different departments, or states, of the country." Those who were not carrying educational banners, or signs, were either dressed to dance, march, or they were wearing clothes to represent the cultural or environmental diversity of the country.
In the end, all of the work and preparation paid off, as all of the kids enjoyed a day full of performing, marching, and interacting with the rest of the town. The ranch band won some of the largest applauses from the crowds, and many relatives of pequeño/as got to come into town to proudly watch the children.
Putting the whole show together for the kids was an amazing enough feat in and of itself. Principal Jessyka explained how employees across all parts of the home - school, house directors, transportation, social work, etc. - had to coordinate to make the three-hour transportation effort possible. Not a single complaint was given all day, as all of the kids were clearly incredibly excited to be able to perform for the community.
While everyone on the Ranch may live secluded outside of the city, the pequeño/as still get the same cultural and historical education and experience, if not more, offered in any other school in the country. While the day was a phenomenal success enjoyed by all - the kids are already starting to look forward to next year's march. For now, those on the ranch are happy to enjoy slightly quieter Saturday mornings while they last.