For as long as I can remember one of my favorite days at ISP has been International or United Nations Day. As a student, I was always excited to ask my parents how I would dress up on that day. Since I am a dual citizen, I was often given the choice to represent either the United States or Panama.
I graduated from ISP in 2002, and now, 16 years later, I have the honor of serving as ISP's Communication Manager. A job that hardly feels like a job because of the joy it brings me to share with others the many reasons there is no place like ISP.
Part of what I do is to help capture and share memories like these, that I know will last a lifetime. As I walked on to our campus yesterday, there was a flood of emotion as I watched our students, parents and staff arrive ready to proudly represent their countries, cultures, and traditions. How lucky are we? I thought to myself, as I saw all of this happening. We get to see the world all in one day and it's all here at our school.
What took me back to my early days at ISP was seeing the students visit countries in the elementary gym using their passports and getting them stamped as they moved from country to country, making their way around the world. I remembered being in La Cresta (ISP's original location) and participating in the parade. I also thought about when we moved here to Cerro Viento in the early 90's and how each class had to represent a country. Giving all of us the opportunity to travel the world right here in our own school.
The celebration of International Day (UN Day) is ISP's oldest tradition. In 1984 just 2 years after ISP officially opened, we held the first parade at La Cresta. I still remember my first parade and that I dressed like a farmer from Nebraska. In the picture, you can see me ( the Nebraska farmer) together with my friends from Peru Luis, Edwin from the USA, and my Mom, Diane Guevara, who was an elementary teacher back then.
When I told her I was writing this story about this special day. I mentioned how amazing it was to see two of my former classmates, who now have children in ISP, setting up the table to represent Panama and stamping students passports as they passed through. This is what tradition is all about. To which my mom responded, "I can remember sitting in a classroom in La Cresta, with Michelle Tapia, also now retired teacher, making passports as we prepared to celebrate this event for the first time. (Mrs. Tapia appears together with students in the other image featured in this story.
I just couldn't stop smiling as I moved from the elementary to the middle school showcase of countries, and saw high school students and teachers proudly representing their countries. It is days like this that truly make me feel that we are an international community that feels like family.
Thank you one and all, for what you do, big and small, to make days like these unforgettable.