The school year started promptly on Nov. 1st as the kids kept telling us over and over that it would. Never mind that the first of November fell on a Sunday, school indeed started on that day. Of course they were home in an hour, but school was finally upon us.
Here’s the awaited photo’s! (In comparison here’s last year’s photos)
Our preschool is a motely crew ranging in age from 2.5 to 5. They were very proud of their uniforms and school bags.
Our not-so-little Miss Rortana can finally go to school. She was ready to be considered a big girl now after being ‘young’ for so long! The first full day, the kids ran back to Opot during recess (one of the advantages of living across the street from the school) and Virak 2 ran into the preschool in his regular clothes. I asked him why he wasn’t in school and he said “finished”. Knowing the crazy school system and how first graders sometimes don’t go the whole time some days, I thought nothing of it. Then our Wat Opot teacher Sitha came into the room and asked why he was there and I said that he said school was finished for the day. Since Rortana wasn’t home, she went to to the school to check and came back and said school was still in session. Virak2 was adamant that it was finished! Come to find out, he mistook Recess as the end of the day. He was a little in disbelief. I mean, how could school be hours long!
Our second graders have one full year under their belts, so they are no longer the newbies. Miss Srey Nuet is guarded by Chamrun 1 and Chamrun 2.
With no 3rd graders, next up is the rambunctious 4th graders. We’re currently collecting donations to give their teacher a raise. She’s gonna need it, with Wey, Virak and Saoun, although Srey Nith and Srey Mohn try to keep them in line.
Fifth graders are a lonely bunch with Rith flanked by Kunthea and Srey Mahrk.
Our 6th graders are split up into 2 classes, one group goes in the morning and one in the afternoon, hence the separate photo’s. Nak is with Channy and Srey Moav, whereas Pauliep has to deal with Chay, Touri and Hua.
Again, it’s nearly impossible to get high school photos since most go to extra classes in the morning and have varied schedules, but here’s the breakdown:
Class7 – Somnang, Srey Nak, Tymeng, Srey Pov, Venot
Class 8 – Socheat, Mak Phan, Sovanrith, Heang, Veasna
Class 9 – Somnang II
Class 10 – Katnika
Class 11 – Srey Nou, Kunty, Vandy, Seyha
With no 12th graders, we have two years until we will have to worry about university fees which will give us a nice break to save up!
With the government trying to put a stop to the corruption in the school system the kids now have to realize that the way to pass school is actually to study! Amazing concept huh? We have gotten stricter in our expectations of them and have incorporated a nightly study hour after meditation for those in class 6 and above. It was fun for them the first week, then a bit of testing us, trying to sneak in cell phone and such, but by the 3rd week, they got down to business and with our current volunteers, they are using the time to learn. If they have no homework, they read Khmer or English books and take advantage of our Math or English savvy volunteers.
Thanks to all of you who make it possible for us to live and work together in the Wat Opot Children’s Community!