After many months and hours of planning, designing, and practicing, our middle and elementary students (ELC and DCMS) joined forces to compete in Eleuthera’s Junior Junkanoo Rush. And what an amazing performance it was!

The theme of The Island School parade, initially designed by DCMS, was celebrating 50 years of independence in The Bahamas. Each section of the parade celebrated the beautiful country in which we live. During Junkanoo, The youngest of our participants, ELC pre-K and grade 1 students led the group as Sea Turtles, followed by the Bahamian flag whistle team, hibiscus dancers, sunflowers, flamingos, and very talented young drummers.

Junkanoo is a celebration of Bahamian culture and history. The festival is believed to have originated several centuries ago when enslaved descendants of Africans on plantations in The Bahamas celebrated holidays granted around Christmas time with dance, music, and costumes. After emancipation, the tradition continued. Thus, Junkanoo evolved from simple origins to a formal, organized parade with intricate costumes, themed music, and official prizes within various categories. Junior Junkanoo is yet another variation of the holiday, celebrated by youth and school groups throughout the islands with a final competition in Nassau for each island’s respective winners.

Our students could not have learned or performed to such excellence without the help of a dedicated team of staff. They extended themselves to choreograph dance routines, run rehearsals, and spend hours and hours pasting intricate, vibrant, costumes. The collaboration and spirit that went into this year’s Junior Junkanoo is a wonderful example of the community that exists at The Island School and the opportunities we have to build connections across cultures, ages, and communiteis.

For many years, we have learned about Junkanoo, often receiving lessons from our Bahamian staff and Bahamian students. Over the weekend, the entire Island School community gathered in Tarpum Bay to celebrate our students in the youth and communities of South Eleuthera. While our DCMS and ELC team may not have won the final recognition, their performance was outstanding and the camaraderie and support demonstrated by The Island School community was second to none.