Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"Last Bell" 2010


Today is a very special day in Russia... It's the "Last Bell," the "Последный Звонок." Unlike in the USA, in Russia there are two parts to Graduation. Today is the "Last Day of Classes," and in one month, after all the seniors will have taken their national exams, they'll have their "Graduation."

I wrote about the day before here...

I'll keep today's entry brief, in part because I'm so darn tired! But first of all, just check out what Russians can do with balloons! Such decorations are standard here... I've never seen such chains and configurations in the USA... The balloon below says, "Graduate."


Our school always sets out a "red carpet" for the special day. Students in grades 5 through 10 line up, as do all family members, visiting alumni, and teachers. We then have a ceremony when each senior is congratulated and then walks to the school's gates.


We then take buses to a theater, where we have a VERY involved and neat ceremony. Naturally, there were more balloon decorations...


The ceremony featured tributes by the second and seventh graders, high schoolers, recent alumni, teachers and parents. The second graders were ENCHANTING! They performed little poems about each graduate, while classmates acted them out. They were SO clever and spot on! The seniors LOVED it! The seventh graders were also super... How I love this year's seventh graders... I've worked with them for the past two years, and I will each year I'm here, seeing them through... When those kids graduate, wherever I am, I will be SO proud...

The seniors this year bestowed honorary degrees upon all the teachers, highlighting their strengths... I was honored for being "Patient." Even-headed, calmly reacting to all situations, treating kids fairly and respectfully. Wow. What an honor... If only I truly always felt that way... I try so hard to treat my girls that way, and so often fall tremendously short...

After the ceremony, we all gathered at a popular monument in Moscow for a huge group shot--and I realized that Natalia would be able to see us from our living room window, albeit in the distance! She was so excited when I called home.. She grabbed her binoculars ("Yay!" for the big sister with the Nancy Drew/spy obsession!), and then saw me and a whole bunch of my colleagues waving to her!

On my way home, I passed these seniors from another school—dressed in the much more traditional "Last Bell" attire. Most Russian eleventh graders wear Soviet school uniforms (with the skirts MUCH shorter than they ever would have been prior to 1991) today... With the requisite big white bows in their hair!


Most Russian girls wear SPIKED high heels with their dresses and aprons, creating an awfully bizarre image... We've had an new American teacher this year, a young man, and it was amusing to watch his "Are you kidding me? Their parents and their schools actually encouraged them to dress that way??!" reaction today! It is odd... Like some bizarro Communist p*** movie has taken over the city. When the weather is sunny, Red Square is taken over completely by swarms of students coming for pictures!

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful balloons and great pictures!! I have a picture of my son's birth mother from her high school graduation and she is wearing the same dress. Amazing...Happy Last Bell!

~Donna in CA
Donnadman@aol.com

Tina in CT said...

Yes, those costumes looks like something that could be in a porno movie with spike heels. Did the girl on the left forget to buy her big white, puffy bows?

It's nice that the schools keep on with their traditions.

What an honor the students bestowed on you.

Cool that Natalia could borrow her sister's spy kit to see you.

I would feel better if you removed that portion of the blog in case someone could figure out which neighborhood you live in. (Your cautious mom)

Jojo, Julz, Julianne said...

Every year when you post the "first bell" stories and "last bell" posts I secretly dream about doing something like that at my school, but sadly I sort of think parents and other staff would think I was crazy to celebrate this way. (i would love it!!)
This is one of my favorite traditions that you share about!!
And the kids must feel like rock stars when they walk across the red carpet!!! So cool.

Lloyd said...

How exciting... I really enjoyed reading the posts on your blog. I invite you to follow my blog. God bless, Lloyd

Tina in CT said...

No hot water!!!!!!

Expat Women said...

Hi MoscowMom,

Regina here, for ExpatWomen.com.

I would like to personally invite you to list your blog on our Expat Women Blog Directory (www.expatwomen.com/expatblog/) so that other women can read about and learn from your expat experiences.

Many thanks in advance for your contribution and keep up your great blog!

Regina

Nick Rudnev said...

This collection of photos sums it up pretty well:

http://zyalt.livejournal.com/252329.html

CaraBee said...

What an wonderful ceremony for the graduates! It's so amazing that the entire school gets in on the act! I wish even once in my life someone would call me patient. Sigh. Not one of my stronger characteristics, sadly.

Those outfits! I would have a hard time letting my daughter out in that!

Hey, we'd like to feature you next Thursday at BlogTrotting! Can you have a post ready?

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Elliott Broidy said...

What a wonderful adventure for your whole family. Much luck to you!