Good evening and Happy Holidays to all of you in the Futuraskolan community,
I hope this post finds you cozy, warm and inside from the winter chill. The season of solstice brings warm family gatherings, candles and good cheer and a well-deserved, relaxing break for the students in the community.
Festivals of light and winter traditions are amongst the most popular festivals of the year in many cultures.
Pagan Scandinavia celebrated a winter festival called Yule, held in the late December to early January period. As Northern Europe was the last part to Christianize, Scandinavia’s pagan traditions had a major influence on the traditional Christmas celebrations we experience today. Many current Christmas rituals emerged during the difficult winters pagans often encountered. Candlelight conquered darkness and evergreens were valued for remaining green in even the harshest weather. Singing, drinking and dancing, meanwhile, reduced isolation and kept people positive.
For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. While Diwali is popularly known as the “festival of lights”, the most significant spiritual meaning behind it is “the awareness of the inner light”. Bodhi Day is the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day that the historical Buddha experienced enlightenment, while Soyal is the winter solstice ceremony of the Zuni and the Hopi Indians in North America. The main purpose of this ritual is to ceremonially bring the sun back from its long winter slumber.
Light, family, culture and song, these are the common tenants that mark the celebration of the solstice in many global cultures, as well as our local culture at Futuraskolan.
This month we have enjoyed celebrations of song, art and culture both in our local communities and amongst our respective schools. Our Lucia train at Futuraskolan International Bergtorp reached across town and spread to the local community. Our Literary Prize celebration recognized our fine young authors who submitted poetry and essays for publication as a part of our Nobel Day celebrations. Many of our schools are currently working with the theme Traditions as the central theme of their learning units.
A vibrant learning environment based on a celebration of our community. This has been the theme of the term.
Looking forward to 2019 we are excited about what the future has in store for us.
Starting in January we will begin our development process for our International Baccalaureate (IB) Gymnasium which we plan to initiate in 2021. Furthermore, we have a host of community festivals in the works for the spring term 2019.
In March we will all join hands in what I believe is our most festive celebration of the year, The Futuraskolan Music Festival. Here students from all of our schools will treat us to songs, dance routines and instrumentals coordinated by our outstanding music teachers. Please plan to join us, it is a celebration of the creativity and passion that helps define us at Futuraskolan.
Later in the spring our amazing leadership group at Futuraskolan International School of Stockholm will hold our first annual Model United Nations Conference. During this event, students will be given country assignments and will go through the United Nations processes of formal lobbying, writing resolutions and trying to get their input to United Nations policy formally recognized in the General Assembly. It’s an amazing experience for our students. Last year we sent students to New York and Rome to compete in MUN events. Please encourage your grade 7-9 students to ask their teachers about this. There is no better way to be a global citizen than to ensure that your personal beliefs are interweaved into the discussion about global policy.
Lastly, in May and June we will have all of the grade 9 students from the organization together for a fun picnic in preparation for our annual Grade 9 Prom. Here we celebrate as a community the amazing efforts of your young men and women as they embark on their journey to higher education.
When looking at the results from the year we are grateful for the tremendous efforts of the community to help ensure that we remain, from a grading perspective, the number one free school organization in Sweden (275.2 grade point average).
Along with our good fortune comes an ethic responsibility, and I would encourage you to make this a part of your dinner table discussions during this time of year.
When we celebrate with family and friends this year we must keep in mind that outside our doors there exist less fortunate families than our own.
At both Futuraskolan International Kottla and Stockholm our Global Citizenship projects aim to support the members of our global community who do not have the opportunities that we share. By taking our students to elderly centers to read and play music for their members, or going to local churches on the weekends to feed the homeless, to working with PLAN International in their offices every second week, to raising money for our outreach projects across the global, we aim to embody the spirit of giving that is such a core part of who Futuraskolan aims to be.
Please have a talk with your students about how you too can support these projects. By doing so you help us to enforce one of our core beliefs that when you lend a hand to your neighbor you are standing for the goodness and humility that we encapsulate as true global citizens.
Thank you all for a wonderful and exciting term of study. We are grateful for you having chosen Futuraskolan to entrust with the social and academic development of your fine students. This is a show of faith that we do not take lightly and we are dedicated to honoring your trust in us.
Happy Holidays everyone 🙂