School ended last week for the summer break, and as part of the end-of-the-year celebration Ponheary held story-telling competitions at both Chey and Knar primary schools.
The story-telling competition was a fun way for older students to celebrate their language and presentation skills. Approximately twenty students from fourth, fifth and sixth grades participated in the contests at each school. The students chose and memorized their own story, and presented their tale to an audience of younger students and teachers, who made up the judges panel. Each participant’s personality shown through their presentation as the audience listened intently to their stories.
After all of the students had presented, the judges averaged their scores and decided on the finalists. The score was so close at Chey school that the audience was asked to vote on the finalists. Then, the winners received their prizes: copies of Harry Potter, the Little Prince and other stories in Khmer. All other participants received notebooks, colored pencils and tasty treats. The first prize winner even received a bicycle! And it was all well deserved. While a few students were understandably a bit nervous and others were quite animated, all demonstrated their bravery by standing up in front of their classmates to share their favorite story. The winners at both schools had the audience entranced by their tales, and often roaring with laughter.
The winner at Chey School, a sixth grader named Srei Mon, wrote her own story. The story was about a girl who stopped going to school out of despair after discovering her mother had died from a snake bite while gathering wood in the forest. Worried by the girl’s absence, her teacher soon came to find her. The teacher took the girl back to school, and in to her own family. Ponheary recounted that as the winner was reciting the story with vivid detail, the entire audience of younger students was hushed and attentive.
At Knar School each grade gave a short theatrical performance that they had organized on their own, independently from their teachers. It was a very proud moment, and an enjoyable end to the school year which helped to reinforce the students’ love of learning.
Article by Elizabeth Palumbo