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A Grand Anniversary

by Elena V. (LK Englisch Q1)

After many weeks of preparation the day finally arrived. On Thursday, 27thof September hundreds of students from all over Berlin made their way to the Russian House in Friedrichstraße to celebrate the 20thAnniversary of the SESB programme. Students from many different cultures met, performed, sang and danced to commemorate the establishment of a programme set up in 1992 first and foremost as a test. Now, 20 years later, the idea has flourished to a grand scale nobody could have imagined all those years ago. Many pupils in Berlin have the possibility to do their Abitur in two languages now and thousands enjoy the chance to experience bilingual education.

The festivities for the high schools began with speeches from a representative of the SESB programme, the Russian House and the director of the Russian secondary school to honour the anniversary. After that, each school had time to present its bilingual side in front of the 500 other multicultural students and teachers present. The performances were enjoyed in a spacious auditorium and later there were stalls introducing each school to be looked at. After the initial speeches two girls announced each act beginning with the Portuguese-German high school. First up a group of students of all ages from the German-Portuguese High School, who participate in an AG at their school, performed for us a musical piece with drums of all kinds and Portuguese rhythms. In a second performance other students from the Kurt-Schwitters School sang a song by a well-known Portuguese writer. Following that act came the Peter Ustinov German-English high school presenting a short theatre piece on stage about money and homeless people. The 7thgraders performing it spoke English. The choir of German-French high school succeeded, singing two songs. One from the famous movie “Les Choristes” called “Voir sur ton Chemin”, the other by a well-known French artist called Zaz named “Je Veux”. The choir was accompanied by a saxophonist, a cellist and a pianist, all students of the school. The Alfred Nobel School performed a theatre piece called “The Cooking Competition” and presented the difficulties arising from choosing food for kids from different cultures. The next school also incorporates Italian as its second language after German. Two students read the works of a famous Italian author, Primo Levi, who wrote and translated poems about the 2nd World War. The Carl von Ossietzky school performed a song by Michael Jackson called “Black and White” with singers, a drummer and a guitar player. They also included a rap they made up themselves.

Next came our school, the Schiller Gymnasium. Seven twelfth graders presented different scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, including parts from Macbeth and Hamlet – all performed in English naturally. The 8thschool was a Russian-German one. The students danced one traditional Russian dance with long dresses and a lot of twirling and a second more modern dance incorporating gymnastics. Finally two teachers sang another traditional Russian song, while about twenty students danced in pairs. The next students came from the Robert-Jungk secondary school and sang, together with their music teacher who played the piano, four traditional and modern Polish songs. The high school in Steglitz rounded up all the performances with dancing to a Greek pop-song.

The show as such ended at 4.30 pm, leaving enough time to have a look at the booths, introducing each school again, with traditional food, games and activities. All in all, the multicultural and bilingual afternoon presented the many sides of the SESB and showed the variety it offers to students scattered all over Berlin.