Four Berkeley Hall students were selected to represent CA at the 5th Arts Olympiad held this summer in Washington D.C. in front of the White House, where winners representing 33 states and dozens of countries from around the world met to celebrate the importance of the arts to the development of children ages 8-12. Art teacher Tracy Cheney accompanied the four BHS students and their parents for a this most memorable trip. The CA delegation was Kaelan B. ( 5th grade), Ashtyn W., Emily L., and Nadia M. (all 6th grade). Mrs. Cheney said, "We had a blast seeing historic sites and dancing on The Ellipse under the Washington Monument – and getting rained on every day!"
Mrs. Cheney was asked to submit an article for the international magazine sponsored by One Child Foundation. Please enjoy the article and a movie by clicking on the headline.
The Berkeley Hall School Trip to the 5th Arts Olympiadin Washington, D.C. July 2015
By Art Teacher Tracy Cheney and her students
I had never heard of the Art Olympiad or the International Child Art Foundation (ICAF) until I received a phone call on Monday morning, April 27, 2015 at school. The speaker on the line was Dr. Ishaq, the founder. He told me about the work of the organization, and invited our school to participate in the art competition. But we’d have to hurry to make the last deadline for U.S. schools at the end of May. I told him that I supported everything ICAF was doing in this important field, but school would soon be out for the year. No way – maybe in four more years.
However, when I laughingly mentioned this phone call to some of my students, they jumped on the opportunity immediately. I mean, at that very moment they whipped out sketch paper! They weren’t daunted by the large size of the paintings they’d have to produce in three short weeks. It was a marathon of painting at every recess and lunch hour to make the deadline! We had six kids who powered through to a finished painting, with others cheering them on just like a sports race. I sent the paintings by overnight carrier to D.C. just in the nick of time. And a group of us did end up attending the World Children’s Festival in July!
Once the school year began again, we made a little movie about our trip that we shared at a school assembly. The students then narrated their personal highlights of the trip with an accompanying PowerPoint presentation.
In the students’ own words:
Kaelan B. (5th grade)
The theme of the Olympiad was appealing because it combined two of my interests – art and sports. My piece was called, “The Art of Baseball.” I chose to do a piece about a baseball player who was the MVP of the World Games. The World Games in my artwork represented “Hope vs Fear.” Hope won in the end.
It was fun to interact with other kids from many parts of the world. I met a group of children from Japan who taught me how to write words, including my name, in Japanese characters. The piece looked like art. They asked me if they could take my work home with them, as they wanted to put together a display in their school when they returned to Japan. It would represent the work from their new friends they met at the festival. They gave me little gifts and they returned home with some gifts we brought from Berkeley Hall (California/American flag pins, pens and pencils).
I had a great time learning about the capital of the United States (I was born in Canada). I saw so many monuments and had so much fun with our school group. One of the highlights of our trip was visiting Ford’s Theater and learning about the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. It was amazing to actually sit in the same theater that is so important in history. The theater is where he was shot. He later died at the home across the street.
The Art Olympiad was a cool event. Washington, D.C. was an amazing city to visit!
Emily L. (6th grade)
Being selected to represent California for the 5th Art Olympiad was such an amazing experience. The event was held on The Ellipse, which is between the White House and The Washington Monument. One exciting moment was when Marine One (the helicopter carrying the President of the United States) took off from the lawn of the White House and flew right over our heads. We waved to the President!
We went to the Spy Museum and learned that there are more spies in Washington, D.C. than any other place in the world. We met many kids from different states and countries including Russia, Africa, and Turkey.
Ashtyn W. (6th grade)
Visiting Washington, D.C. was an amazing experience. It seemed that everywhere we went there was something historical.
Being surrounded by the different cultures at the festival made me excited for the week ahead. While there we got to make friends from countries around the world like Uganda, Russia, Japan, Africa – and I even got to meet someone from Australia.
I bonded with others over interests such as art, dance, and music. Each performance and workshop caught my attention. I never wanted to leave!
The trip to D.C. also proved to be a great chance to see my family. My grandpa and nana flew in from New York to join us. I was as happy as could be!
On the last day of the festival, there was a big drum circle. We got to learn a dance while people played the music. We didn’t care that the grass was wet from all the rain and my friend’s feet turned green. Even though it was a tight space for people to dance in, and we got kicked and stepped on a little, it was a very fun way to end our trip.