Sister Sylvia Countess, Ass’t to the ELCJHL Schools’ Director
The spring months are always busy ones for the Schools and Educational Programs of the ELCJHL. This year, as teachers and students prepared for the end of classes, final exams, and school summer tours, they also welcomed their families and friends to special school events. Each school held its own festival, but all four Lutheran Schools joined others in the area to participate in the Spring Festival sponsored by the Environmental Education Center (EEC), one of the educational programs of the ELCJHL.
This year the students of the Evangelical Lutheran School in Beit Sahour held an exhibit of their arts and crafts for the community. On display were thousands of samples of student-made work representing kindergarten through high school levels: drawings, icons, ceramics, candles, carpentry projects, copper work, mosaics, olivewood products, and recycled glass art objects. Students also demonstrated for the public their creativity through various arts and crafts. The exhibit also included holiday decorations and a book fair.
Later in the month, at Dar al-Kalima School in Bethlehem, the community attended a musical concert by the band and choir, who performed religious and patriotic selections. At the Lutheran School of Hope in Ramallah, an art, science, and technology exhibition extended throughout the classrooms of all three floors. Student guides from various subjects and grades participated in displaying and explaining their projects. Among them were a lab demonstration, an exhibit of folk traditions and costumes, a construction engineering display, charts on environmental studies, and computer programs and projects that spanned the curriculum.
Over 600 people, including church, government, and community representatives, attended the ELCJHL’s EEC Spring Festival located on the campus of Talitha Kumi in Beit Jala May 4. Members of the environmental clubs at each participating Lutheran and non-Lutheran school presented dramatic skits, folk dances, and musical selections for the public. The program concluded with a public pledge administered by EEC Director Simon Awad that students in the environmental clubs would commit themselves to promote environmental awareness for “a green Palestine,” a serious challenge in the face of water deficits and deforestation resulting from forty years of Israeli Occupation. Then the public toured multiple rooms of exhibits, including the special arts and crafts competition using recycled paper products collected at each school. Other activities included face painting for the younger children and sampling regional foods. The staff saw the increased attendance and positive comments as encouraging signs of growing interest in environmental issues.
The second half of May includes graduation ceremonies for each of the four senior classes and the five kindergarten programs. However, the school year does not end here; teachers and staff have already begun to plan for summer study and concert tours. Three student groups from Beit Sahour will travel to Germany and Switzerland in June and July. Twenty-four students and seven teachers will be part of the choir and Dabke dance tour while two other groups will participate in home stays and German instruction. Dar al-Kalima School will send twelve students and two teachers to Germany; the School of Hope in Ramallah will have two groups traveling: fourteen students and two teachers will go to Germany and Holland and a second group of ten students and two teachers will visit Berlin. Such travel experiences are part of the efforts of the Lutheran Schools to encourage dialogue and to open windows of cultural awareness and international communication.
Please keep the ELCJHL students, teachers and staff in your prayers as they say goodbye to seniors who will also be preparing for the two-week long arduous Tawjihi Exam in mid-June.