Pupils fly the flags for event

Central Leader - - NEWS -

More than 100 flags from ev­ery cor­ner of the globe have come out of stor­age for a school tra­di­tion that stretches back more than 80 years.

The an­nual flag pa­rade at Cornwall Park District School held last week saw year 6 stu­dents march­ing around the field bear­ing colour­ful flags while proud par­ents, teach­ers and friends cheered from the bleach­ers.

The school boasts a large col­lec­tion of na­tional flags from around the world, in­clud­ing coun­tries that are no longer in ex­is­tence.

The col­lec­tion was es­tab­lished in the 1930s by a former head­mas­ter who be­lieved the chil­dren should know more about other na­tions, deputy prin­ci­pal Ali­cia Whata says.

‘‘He wrote to the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of each of the coun­tries con­cerned and then had the flags made in New Zealand,’’ she says.

‘‘Fol­low­ing that a flag pa­rade was held ev­ery Fri­day.’’

Now a yearly event, the flag pa­rade goes hand-in-hand with the school’s end-of-year prize­giv­ing cer­e­mony.

School lead­ers say it is a time for the school to hon­our tra­di­tion while farewelling se­nior stu­dents.

Ms Whata says the grad­u­at­ing year 6 pupils write ‘‘plead­ing let­ters’’ for some of the more hotly con­tested flags they wish to bear dur­ing the pa­rade.

‘‘They have to ap­ply for which flags they want and some have a lot of de­mand, be­cause the chil­dren carry the flags of their an­ces­tors,’’ prin­ci­pal Janine Irvine says.

As well as na­tional flags, the col­lec­tion also holds some more ob­scure items, sec­re­tary San­dra Ol­liff says.

‘‘We have an old naval flag called Blue Peter.

‘‘It’s an old sig­nal flag which means ‘all aboard’ be­cause the boat is about to leave, which is ap­pro­pri­ate be­cause the cer­e­mony is for the kids leav­ing,’’ she says.

Dur­ing the year the flags are stored se­curely to avoid any dam­age from han­dling.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click lat­est edi­tion to see footage of Cornwall Park District School’s flag pa­rade.

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