I caught on CNN this morning that today, January 20, is Penguin Awareness Day (not to be confused with World Penguin Day in April). I couldn’t help but smile as I read the article and thinking, as I often do, about the little “penguins” running around school every day. I know that some have chided us for our Penguin mascot, noting that we are in the wrong hemisphere generally and legitimately the furthest distance possible from places where penguins are actually found. Not only that, but the lack of any nearby ocean is usually the second giggle that sends us into fits of laughter.
We’ve done much with our Penguin heritage to weave it as both a sports mascot and an emblem for Penguin Life, the nurturing spirit of the school. It’s interesting when you read about Penguins and come to realize the many parallels between Penguin knowledge and the many beliefs and core values that we hold at the Anglo-American School. Penguins at their core are known as nurturers. We all know the stories of penguins holding precious eggs on their feet in bitter cold to bring new life into the world. It’s a poignant tale of what parents and educators commit to in service to children and their growing into adults. It’s a message of service and self-sacrifice that sits at the core of the spirit of family and community. It is seen played out in so many ways when we choose the well-being of our children over the other comforts of life.
When you start reading about Penguins in more depth, you are introduced to the tremendous diversity within the species. There are penguins of all shapes, sizes, and kinds. A splendid array of unique qualities — not unlike our “colony” here at AAS. A diverse spectrum of culture and background brings depth and insight into our community, challenging us to be open-minded and global thinkers. Embracing the diversity of our “chicks” is core to our beliefs. We value what they bring to the conversation and that diverse perspective enriches the broader community, whether in the classroom, or in broader school-wide settings.
The parallels continue for this noble bird and I hasten to add that the Penguin, like many animals on our planet, is also facing serious environmental threats today. We must always be looking for ways to preserve and sustain all the inhabitants of our planet.
But, for the moment, let’s embrace Penguin fact finding and read about Penguins with your child today. There’s more than enough available online. Might I suggest you begin with “29 Thinks You Might Not Have Known About Penguins.”
Happy Penguin Awareness Day!!