To coincide with the opening ceremony of the XXIII Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, happening nearly 7,000 miles away, students at William Floyd Elementary School celebrated with an opening ceremony of their own complete with a parade of nations and a cauldron-lighting.
With the “Olympic Fanfare and Theme” blaring, students, dressed in the colors of one of 16 different countries that they have been studying in class, entered the gymnasium which was decked out to look like the Olympic stadium with flags, banners and lights. Together, they celebrated in song, cheered for their adopted country for the day, and met the Olympic mascots Soohorang and Bandabi, played by teachers Desirae Francis and Brinna O’Hara, respectively. Additionally, the fifth-grade chorus, under the direction of Michael Cicerelli, sang the “Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” followed by Student Council President Ava Cusimano recited the Olympic Creed.
To conclude the ceremony, fifth-grader Catherine Corry had the honor of carrying the torch for the last leg of its journey through the school and “light” the cauldron. Like the Olympic torch making its way around the world, the William Floyd Elementary School torch made its way through each classroom in school.
“We wanted the students to understand what the Olympic Games are about and experience what it might feel like for the athletes to enter the Olympic stadium,” said Dr. Keith Fasciana, Principal, William Floyd Elementary School. “The Olympics occur once every four years and the goal was for our students to see how the athletes from different countries all over the world get together to compete peacefully.” Dr. Fasciana added how it was a school-wide effort made possible thanks to all staff members pitching in to make it a memorable event.
Please enjoy this NBC News 4 New York clip of the event and additional videos below!