Spring Festival 2016: Stargazer

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By Mark Hughes P6, 6, 8

Our annual Primary School Spring Festival is held after the Spring Break on a Friday evening and encourages all Primary students and their families to come together for a fun event.  There are always games, activities, and entertainment, plus food and drink!

In case you missed it, this year’s primary Spring festival was a lot of fun. The theme was stargazing and it brought out the nerd in more than one parent. We’re talking people who were able to pull Han Solo out of their closet. At least one pretty authentic looking Star Trek yeoman’s uniform. Obi Wan – Ewan McGregor model, complete with dapper beard. Darth Vader, head to toe. (Actually several Darth Vaders, which gives one pause….) As much fun as the kids had dressing up – and they clearly had a lot of fun – the parents may have had more.
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In addition, to those inspired by movies, there were many home-made and very creative costumes: space punk with neon Mohawk, star girl, numerous aliens, and even Albert Einstein. Families also enjoyed games, face painting, kids had a bite to eat and parents shared a glass of wine or a beer.

In the gymnasium, a really cool and very popular interactive constellation projection had been set up by Bertrand Carrara and Yi-Wen Lin. Using technology similar to what’s used to make home video games work, the equipment projected the night sky onto a large screen and allowed users to move around and point out stars and constellations with a wave of the hand. (If you are familiar with a Theremin, the instrument the Beach Boys used in their masterpiece Good Vibrations, you get the idea.)

Bertrand and Wen had spent all Friday with la Chât students, who were able to make up their own constellations, which were projected throughout the Stargazer event. Naming constellations is an ancient pass-time – the bushmen of the Kalahari, one of the oldest human societies on earth, have named constellations. So it was kind of mind blowing to think that we were able to use the latest in technology to engage in this timeless activity.

The evening culminated in awarding prizes for best costumes and a talk by Bruno Daversin, Vice-président de l’Observatoire de Triel, lauréat de la Société astronomique de France.  Best costume for girls went to Felien Maaike Muller Y2 for her green space alien; best costume for boys went to Gregory Kelley YR for his space shuttle; and the family prize went to the family of Naomi Andriamialison Y3 for their….well…super hero…cat…space creatures…we’re not really sure, but the costumes were fantastic!

M. Daversin, who had been with our students all day, finished at the Stargazer talking about the night sky that we would have been able to see that evening had the weather cooperated. Unfortunately, actual stargazing was curtailed due to cloud cover. Even without the last look up, however, a good time was had by all. Many thanks to the Primary PTA for coordinating this wonderful event.

Created: 18 April 2016