Every time I give a campus tour to prospective families, I boast that RVA has students from over 30 countries. Yes, you read that correctly; the student population at our K-12 school of just under 500 kids is a mix of over THIRTY different nationalities! We have students from Paraguay to China, Australia to Germany, South Africa to the Netherlands and (almost) everywhere in between.
This past Thursday students and staff gathered to spend the day celebrating our diversity by taking part in what is known as Multicultural Day. Thanks to the creativity and talent of the staff members who spent weeks planning the event, it was a huge success and a memorable recognition of the unique cultures and languages that God has given us.
The theme of Multicultural Day changes every year. This year, in the spirit of Rio, our theme was RVA Olympics.
Our opening ceremonies included the running in of the Olympic torch, Olympic flag and Kenyan flag…
….and also included lighting of the Olympic torch!
The students were divided into different country teams and then each group of teams (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania) was assigned a color to wear. Before the games started some very patient staff members helped organize everybody into an Olympic rings formation.
After the opening ceremonies, teams ran around campus participating in 28 different events. Events like long jump,…
…synchronized swimming (minus the pool),
…building flags out of LEGOs,
…and hungry, hungry hippo!
Students were also able to pose with athletic chalk drawings spread throughout the campus.
Our closing ceremonies involved awarding gold, silver and bronze medals to the top three teams and included what has become one of my favorite RVA traditions, the flag ceremony. For the ceremony, the oldest student from each of the over 30 nations represented at RVA is given the privilege of carrying in their country’s flag to the sounds of their country’s national anthem and the cheers of the student body. They then address the crowd with a word or phrase in their country’s national language.
I’ll admit that I got teary-eyed watching the flag ceremony this year. All of these kids are so far from not only their passport countries, but also from the countries where their families are living. God has brought together this talented and diverse crew because He’s called each of their families to spread the good news of the Gospel. Each of their families with their varying strengths and weaknesses, culture and language, passions and talents all serving separately and yet together for the same goal. Each willing to leave behind the family, friends, comfort, and familiarity of their passport country because they know that Christ is worthy. And each unique parts of the Body of Christ.
Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. Romans 12:4-6a