September the 1st is the beginning of the school year, first school day and the Knowledge Day in Ukraine. Visiting my parents I had a chance to visit my school on this special day. Here is what was different since my school years time.
What was absolutely clear is the increased level of patriotism, which is definitely reflecting a war conflict against the country. Many children and parents were wearing traditional embroidered shirts “vishivanka”. It looked very nice. Visiting the school a day later I saw that vishivanka is also an everyday students’ clothes. Even balloons had only country’s colors: light blue and yellow.
The ceremony consisted from the greeting words, special congratulation to the first and last grade students, show of singing and dancing talents, and a traditional “first bell” moment. “First bell” symbolizes the beginning of a school year, and is being rung by a selected first grade schoolgirl, being carried around the school plaza by the honored last grade schoolboy. It is a touchy moment. Same thing happens with the “Last Bell” at the end of the school year, except it is a little bit sad for the last graders, as it is the last school bell in their lives. Perhaps not all of them fully realize that fact at the moment.
After the ceremony is over all the children congratulate their supervisor teachers with flowers, and go to classrooms for their first class.
The only sad moment for me was the memorial board at the front of the school. It commemorates one of the school’s student who already died in the war. I heard that the war has already taken around 20 lives of young soldiers from my town…