Third-graders joyously sang traditional songs in Swahili and danced to the music for thrilled members of the Kenyan running team in the elaborately decorated gymnasium at the Elmwood Elementary School in Hopkinton on Thursday morning, just as students have been doing here annually for the past 21 years.
This time, however, there was added meaning to the annual celebration of sport, friendship, and community.
“What could be a more important message for our children than the one in which we convey today — that supporting one another through tragedies and challenges is just as important as celebrating with one another,” Elmwood principal David Ljungberg said.
His sentiments were echoed by Jean Kamau, Kenya’s ambassador to the United States, who spoke not only of the bombings at last year’s Boston Marathon, but also of the terrorist attack that killed at least 67 people at the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi last September.
“We stand in solidarity with Boston; we will be strong,” she told the second- and third-graders waving American and Kenyan flags, teachers, administrators, parents, and town officials who packed the gymnasium.
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