The Branch of the Experimental Primary School Affiliated with Sichuan University in Chengdu held its third annual International Panda Day celebration on October 11, 2013.The school began this tradition after a visit from Chriszelda Pieterse, a finalist in the 2010 Global Pambassador competition. Panda ambassadors or Pambassadors, were chosen in 2010 and 2012 by the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and tasked with representing pandas and the issues affecting their survival to a global audience .Pieterse spent a day at the school teaching students about giant panda conservation and endangered animals from her home country of South Africa. It was so well received that students and faculty implemented a yearly event celebrating the giant panda.During the summer vacation, the children and their parents collected information about the countries they would represent for International Panda Day 2013. In the weeks leading up to the event, students in Ist-6th grades prepared costumes and practiced for their group performances, created panda-themed artwork, and even held a panda fashion show. The morning of the celebration, the children gathered excitedly on the sports field, grouped by grade. Each class wore costumes from different countries in Asia, the theme for 2013. With much fanfare, the Young announcers called for the parade to begin. Each grade processed around the athletic held in traditional clothing and carried flags India, Malaysia, Singapore, North and South Korea,Cambodia, and of course China.
One by one, the classes took to the big stage and put on short performances as the rest of the school watched. This was the first year that parents participated in the celebration. Mothers and fathers from the third grade class put on a great show when they joined their panda-costumed children singing the famous song “Zui Xuan Min Zu Feng” and dancing around on the platform.
Each year the International Panda Day was designed to focus on a different region of the world. In 2012 the children and pandas visited Europe and in 2014 they are set to tour Africa. The 2015 expedition will take them to the Americas. The goal of International Panda Day was to encourage pride among the student body for their national heritage and to help them face the world with self-confidence and a global view. The message of wildlife and environmental conservation was also central to the occasion.
Families and guests alike enjoyed the festivities and were delighted to see all the hard work that went into International Panda Day 2013. The students, families, and faculty of the Branch of the Experimental Primary School Affiliated with Sichuan University in Chengdu did a magnificent job and have set the bar high for themselves come 2014.