Last Few School Days of 2016

During the last week of school before the Christmas holidays, a number of exciting events happened that I helped orchestrate and/or in which I participated.

On Tuesday, Villablanca (the high school where I’m working) hosted a charity race for hunger. Students could enter by either bringing 5€ to school or they could bring in a kilogram of non-perishable food. But hosting a race doesn’t come without its fair share of logistical hassles! First of all, due to not wanting to pay for police to monitor the racecourse, we had to keep the course completely within the bounds of the school. Cati, Jorge, Iván (the physical education teachers) and I decided that we could make the race go around the soccer and basketball courts and then around the little garden on the school property. The students had to run (or walk) the course three times, totaling about 3km. In order to make sure the kids actually did this, they were given a rubber band after completing each lap, and only when they showed us three rubber bands on their wrists were they allowed to cross the finish line.

The race itself was wonderful organized chaos. We actually had two races – three classes of 2nd of ESO (8th grade) ran during fifth period and the other three classes of the same grade ran during sixth period. I cheered my heart out for the kids (while simultaneously making sure none of them were cheating by cutting across the racecourse!) The best part, however, was right after sixth period, when we were able to help load cart after cart full of food for the homeless shelter down the road in Vicálvaro. Also during seventh period, some of the 9th graders joined us on the recorder for the medal ceremony, playing Chariots of Fire as the male and female winners got their medals placed around their necks.

Thursday was the last day of school before vacation and we had our choir and recorder concert. I assist in classes with Victoria and Belén – the two music teachers at IES Villablanca. Partially because I enjoy working with them so much, and partially because I enjoy singing and miss my high school chorus days, I decided to join the Villablanca choir. The choir is about 80% students and 20% staff members and we practice on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during our break periods.

We have been rehearsing feverishly these past few weeks, and it was worth it for a wonderful concert, performed in the auditorium of the local public library. Many students, teachers and parents came to watch us sing in English and Spanish.

When I returned home to Boston for the Christmas break, I slept for 12+ hours for many nights (days?) in a row. A large part of it was due to jetlag, but I think some of it had to do with the wonderfully exhausting last week of 2016 I had in Madrid.

Until next time,




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