Williston Central School buzzed with international music and cultural flair on Friday.
A Mardi Gras parade of students and teachers decked out in beads and decorative masks—complete with “When the Saints Go Marching In” blaring from the instruments of school band members—wound through the halls.
In the auditorium, students banged out a Brazilian beat on drums while the audience leapt to their feet to dance and sing.
Friday marked the end of Theme Week, which the school has run for nearly a decade. This year’s theme was “Cruising around the world,” said Related Arts Teacher Jennifer Oakes, one of the event’s organizers. Theme Week gives students the opportunity to explore different world cultures, customs, art and languages. Students partake in two activities throughout the week.
“Trying something new is wonderfully important to all of us,” Oakes said. “Children at this age are great sponges for learning new things and trying new things, and this gives them that opportunity.”
Students seemed equally enthusiastic.
“It’s a blast,” said eighth grader Colton Layman. “We definitely learn a lot about different cultures.”
“It’s really nice to get out of your class and get to know some other kids,” said Zachary Hark, who is in sixth grade.
Fifth grader Fiona Reiner took home the top prize for flavor in the cruise-themed “Cupcake Wars” with her strawberry-lemonade cupcake recipe, which she said is a family favorite.
“It’s fun because it gives you a chance to do things you don’t usually get to do,” said Reiner, who also learned drumming with local Brazilian street band Sambatucada.
Theme Week culminates in the most highly anticipated event—a faculty-versus-students basketball game.
“It’s wall-to-wall children and very competitive,” Oakes said. For the students who don’t fit into the gym, the game is live-streamed into classrooms.
“It’s like the Army-Navy game,” Layman said.
Students hoisted handmade signs and cheered wildly, while teachers supported the volunteers playing for the faculty side. Eighth-grade student Marlee Gunn sank a last-minute foul shot to bring the final score to 54-54.