Monday, June 25, 2012

Graduation Bollywood Style!

Mrs. Vathilakis & My Son
As students' protests against tuition increases have reached their climax in Montreal, other students have been feverishly preparing for their final weeks of... kindergarten. My oldest son has finished his first year of 'real' school, so to speak and to celebrate it the powers that be decided to have the children put on a show and of course a small graduation ceremony. We live in a multi-ethnic neighborhood where the average home consists of either Greek, Indian or African families. Our local school, Sinclair Laird, is a hub of activity as it caters to all three ethnicities and then some such as ourselves, a Heinz 57 of sorts as both our boys were born in Europe but also hold Canadian citizenship. The school has been wonderful for our son's development and I particularly have enjoyed the stance it has taken against such issues such as bullying, academic excellence and unification. This was a two day event whereby the students of all grades performed various plays, songs, and yes, Bollywood dances (a personal favorite of mine...). The next day was specifically for the kindergarten graduation ceremony.

This would in fact be Joel's second graduation since arriving in Canada. Last year he graduated from pre-school from C.P.E. Panda. Now, its kindergarten... it seems like everybody is graduating from something or another, doesn't it? Nevertheless, seeing how well my little fella has adjusted to life in Canada is wonderful. Particularly where French is concerned! Despite Bill 101's attempt to make learning French as miserable as possible my son's attendance at a bilingual school and having had a wonderful French teacher, Mme. Helene, has made learning the language fun, exciting and as any self-respecting Quebecois knows, a joy in and of itself. The children performed in both English and French various songs!

Say What?
Jennifer - A Proud Mum to Be Sure!
Anne Hathaway and James Franco
couldn't have done better than these two stars in the making....
Our Son Performing
Ram Sam Sam
I never thought I would be one of those fathers with their video camera but there I was taking picture after picture, video after video. Despite the quiet shyness that comes with sitting in a room filled with strangers hailing from different cultures and even languages as soon as our babies were on stage performing we were all about them. The stars of the show however were the Bollywood dances. I personally love Bollywood, it's a guilty pleasure of mine. I only wish that Joel had been old enough to be included in the Bollywood dance himself, how sweet would that have been? There were two dances in total.

 Dance 1

Dance 2

The dances received standing ovations and was really very special to watch. Admittedly, I find it satisfying to be living in a community where despite the propensity to focus on differences by some, people came together and shared in the pride and happiness of all the children involved this day. I have to say how impressed we are with our son's K-Teacher, Mrs. Dousett, who managed to create a fun and exciting learning environment for all. She reminded me of a teacher I once had named Mrs. Davies. Strict but kind she was instrumental in my enjoying school at that time in my life. The year finished off with our son's big day, graduation.

Mrs. Dousett, Jennifer and our son...
The Joys of Parenthood!
There are days where I find myself scratching my head and wondering if I am doing anything right when it comes to being a father. I struggle between balancing tough love with the gentleness that is required for fragile five year old and two year old hearts. Both my boys know that I love them and relish in their milestones. However, daily life often prevents me from remembering to remind them of this. The thought of yet another graduation so early in my son's academic career seemed silly to me at first but admittedly, by the end of it all, I was delighted to have had the chance to take the time out of the ups and downs of daily life to celebrate openly with my baby his milestone. Being in Montreal will give my boys the same cultural awareness and appreciation that I had growing up in Verdun. Moments like this remind us of how right our decision was to return to Canada in 2010. 


  1. I just love you guys! ~ Fantastic blog post Mario, enjoyed the video's and hearing of Joel's graduation ceremony. See the diverse cultures brought together like this is beautiful! A bravo to his teacher! Wish we could find this here.

    Much Love xoxo


    Ps.. one of my favourite parts of the video was hearing you laugh! Tres cool! ♥

  2. Awww.... Too cute! Congratulations to Joel!

    I hope all of you are doing well!


  3. Hi Mario,

    Man, I am impressed of your son's grad ceremony, I can't believe the "Bollywood" theme, I did not know it is entering the Montreal mainstream. Thanks for sharing and Congrats to Joel and his parents for KG Graduation. If you are around the Townships or near about, do not hesitate to stop by my place, just let me know. Hope you had a great Quebec Day, and also wishing your family A Very Happy Canada Day! Take care man!


  4. hey that was cool...looks like he had fun...
    you've had about as many bikes as I have had (if I read that right) thanks fer the video.. (OK it wasn't a video but ever what....) I love stuff to do with our 'little' ones....

    reddogbiker (jmo)

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