November 1st 11, 2013: All 8th grade students from the four Evangelical Lutheran Schools participated in the annual Reformation Day events which were held at Dar al-Kalima School in Bethlehem. During the day, all of the students presented an activity, a power-point presentation, or a play about the Reformation Day and the role Martin Luther played in the church. Pastors, administrators, religion and other teachers participated with the students in celebrating the Reformation, staying there all day and eating lunch together.
November 7, 2013: We welcomed two members from the organizations “Act Alliance” and “Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World – Protestant Development Service),” Mrs. Stefanie Rückels and Mr. Lutz Wollziefer. Dr. Charlie told our guests about the philosophy of the Lutheran Church and how it is implemented in the schools. He also spoke about the importance of our schools for Christian congregations in the Holy Land and how the church helps students, encouraging them to stay in their homeland instead of migrating to other countries and parting ways with their families and relatives. In addition, he spoke about the school system, including programs and activities that are implemented in the school that incorporate a holistic approach to teaching our students. After the conversation, Dr. Charlie led a tour of the school, giving our guests a firsthand look into the different programs and activities implemented in our classrooms. They visited the workshops, the music room where they heard a Christmas song sung by the school choir, the Kindergarten, and the souvenir shop. Finally, the administration gave them a small gift containing our latest yearbook, the school brochure, and finished the tour with an exciting performance from our students in the Palestinian folklore dancing group, The Dabkeh.
November 15, 2013: The Arab Educational Institution in Bethlehem (AEI) hosted a program called “Living in the Holy Land” for our school’s ninth grade students. Other students, both Christians and Muslims, from other schools also participated. These students had the opportunity to visit many places in the Jordan Valley area. They visited the city of Jericho, Qumran’s compound, Hisham’s Palace, The Good Samaritan Inn, Prophet Moses Compound, the Dead Sea, The Monastery of Saint Gerasimos, and Tel El Sultan in Old Jericho where they saw a film about this site. Our students prepared reports about each site, and they presented them in front of the students from the other schools. At the end of the day, they visited the Banana Park to have fun with their friends and enjoy one another’s company.
November 14, 2013:After the exciting football match, Principal Shawqi Hawash addressed the students and staff. He noted the importance of Palestinian Independence Day and why we celebrate it in the schools. During the rest of the celebration, two student leaders from the eleventh grade served as the MCs. They introduced each activity of the morning.
Next, the Dabkeh teams performed. First, the eighth and ninth grade Dabkeh team showed off all of their hard work and practice. They performed this traditional dance to an upbeat, traditional song. Second, the eldest Dabkeh team, composed of tenth and eleventh graders, performed. With great pride and skill, they honored this traditional dance. Even some of the younger students in the crowed were moved to dance by the traditional Palestinian music.
After the Dabkeh performances, two upperclassmen read poetry about Palestinian independence. This was followed by a performance from the school choir. This small group proudly sang to the watchful crowd.
Once the performances were finished, the school administration presented a few select students with some well-deserved awards. Mr. Shawqi awarded and congratulated the girls’ football teams from the seventh and eighth grades and the boys’ football teams from the tenth and twelfth grades. He also awarded last week’s drawing contest winners from the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. The Palestinian Independence Day events concluded with open Dabkeh dancing where students and staff joined together in celebration.
November 19, 2013: This afternoon, the school hosted a theater performance about children’s rights in cooperation with Inad Theater from Bethlehem. Inad Theater is comprised of a group of young men who studied theater. This group focuses their work on local and international issues through acting and imitating. The students from the kindergarten, first grade, and second grade were fortunate to watch today’s performance, which took place in the school hall.
November 22, 2013: In following our annual tradition, we hosted the other three schools, Talitha Kumi in Beit Jala, Dar al-Kalima in Bethlehem, and the Hope School in Ramallah, for a football tournament. Several students from each school played on teams, while many other students sat in the crowd watching and cheering. Dr. Charlie, school principals, and school deputy principals were also present to cheer on each of the teams. In the end, ELS came in first place, Talitha Kumi came in second place, Hope School came in third place, and Dar al-Kalima came in fourth place. This annual tournament is held in order to implement good spirits and cooperation between all of the schools and their students.
November 23, 2013: Two plays were presented for our students. One play was performed in the school for the 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students. The play exemplified what happened to the Palestinian people during the last 6o years of occupation, including how Israeli soldiers forced many Palestinians to leave their land and live in other countries as refugees. The second play was performed in the Russian Center in Bethlehem for the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students. This play illustrated the history of the Palestinian conflict in an ironic way. Our students thoroughly enjoyed both plays.
November 30, 2013: The school participated in the annual Christmas Bazaar at the Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem. On exhibit was all of our students’ work done in the vocational education classes. Some items that were on display included handmade olive wood crafts, candles, embroidery, and ceramics. This annual bazaar is a wonderful opportunity for us to sell these handmade items. All proceeds go toward supporting additional handmade products in future vocational education classes.