Students across the island participated in a variety of cultural displays at their respective schools yesterday as they took part in the annual observance of Commonwealth Day.
Celebrated on the second Monday in March of each year, Commonwealth Day is a time to observe global issues and promote international cooperation and awareness for Commonwealth organizations, which strive to better the lives of its citizens.
At several schools, students donned the native dress of a number of commonwealth countries and participated in a parade of nations.
Other students sang and danced as they demonstrated their understanding of what Commonwealth Day truly means.
Using Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's speech as a reference, educators encouraged students to view this year's theme, "Team Commonwealth," as a message of unity and cooperation for the improvement of the community, country, and commonwealth at large.
" The aim is to celebrate the unity, diversity and linkages of the modern commonwealth and foster greater understanding of the commonwealth's achievements and role, particularly among young people," Department Head for History and Social Sciences at St. George's High School Frazette Gibson said.
Gibson, also the coordinator of the Commonwealth Day celebration at St. George's High, said the theme expresses a spirit of friendship and teamwork that she hopes students will take to heart.
In coordinating the event, she said, she not only aimed to educate students on the culture of 53 commonwealth nations, but she hoped to get children better acquainted with Bahamian culture.
" They're putting on displays, and they had to learn about their countries so that was important. It was an educational process," she said.
St. George's principal Keith Barr said the emphasis on Bahamian culture made this year's Commonwealth Day celebration especially significant.
" We're focusing on more things that are Bahamian; more of the music and the dance is taken from our Bahamian culture, he said.
" They're learning how to enjoy our things. We're so bombarded and invaded by other cultures, which have become popular cultures in the Bahamas, that we tend to forget what's ours. So I think they're learning a lot."
According to Barr, the celebration continues to improve on the success of the previous year.
Lewis Yard Primary principal Sandrea Bullard said she too was pleased with the Commonwealth Day celebration at her school.
She noted that students also responded favorably to the observance.
" We wanted the kids to be aware of various commonwealth nations, so we had them parade with the 53 flags of the commonwealth.
Bullard said that each grade was assigned a commonwealth nation and were asked to make a presentation based on that country.
" They were totally in tune and they really enjoyed it," she said.
Acknowledge the theme, Bullard said that the call to unity is a charge that educators will take seriously at that campus.
" We stressed that to the students and the teachers that throughout the rest of the year we want to have unity and teamwork," she said.
Grand Bahama Catholic High School Joye Ritchie-Greene said the school will commemorate Commonwealth Day with a week of activities.
Among these activities, she said, would be a commonwealth nation inspired potluck and trivia.
She said the school honored the observance with a special assembly.
Ritchie-Greene said her hope is for her students to recognize just how connected they are to other youth through the commonwealth.
" This is set aside each year for us to focus on what brings us together, all the different nations," she said.
Published Tuesday, March 11, 2014