THE SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM
DISCOVER YOUR HEROES AND THE WORLD ...
… was the motto for 55 elementary schools in and around Leipzig in the school year of 2012/13.
Due to their participation in the partnership program “ONE SCHOOL ONE COUNTRY” by WorldSkills Leipzig 2013, they were the sponsors of a national team.
During the publication of the sponsors on 12th October, the elementary schools got to know where their journey would lead and which country or region would be discovered during the school year of 2012/13. For the drawing, international Delegates from all continents and the CEO WorldSkills International, David Hoey, from Australia were there as guests. The Team Leaders of the national teams of Iceland, Canada, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Germany told the principals and teachers of their experiences with the partnership program of former WorldSkills Competitions. The lottery pot found enthusiastic sponsor schools for small as well as big, near as well as far countries and regions.
From there, each school was to explore its partner country or region and its culture and to prepare for the national team’s visit in July, 2013. A first highlight for the schools participating in the partnership program was a meeting with delegates of the partner countries and regions at the beginning of this year. In the framework of the Preparation Week for WorldSkills Leipzig 2013, delegates from 50 countries and regions met with representatives of their partner schools from the program “ONE SCHOOL ONE COUNTRY” for the first time. On 17th January, elementary school students, principals, and teachers introduced their schools in English and in French.
The international Delegates were truly enthusiastic and very impressed by the students’ great language skills. The ice was broken for the ensuing personal exchange with representatives of the respective partner country or region. Maps were spread, videos were shown, customary gifts were exchanged, and numerous partner photos were taken.
This meeting increased the anticipation and excitement about the partner teams’ visit at school in July. All around the world, the teams looked forward to their young partners. Having met, many schools started interaction with their partner country in preparation of the meeting for the WorldSkills Competition in July, 2013. Post cards with greetings travelled around the world, and even boxes with books and small presents reached the elementary school students in the run-up to the Competition. Some participants from the partner countries also received boxes with little gifts and best wishes from Saxony.
Now, the most exciting days of the school year needed to be prepared well. The 55 elementary schools were in a WorldSkills fever and tried to find answers to many questions. How many guests would come? Which language should they be welcomed in? Do we introduce our guests to our school, our Saxony, and the Saxon cuisine? And what would be an appropriate gift? In evidence of their partnership, the schools created huge cardboard towers presenting the motto “Discover your heroes and the World”. On these towers they presented projects and acquired knowledge on their partner country and on vocations. They made wonderfully colourful artworks sized up to 13 ft high which could be admired all through the WorldSkills Competition.
Finally, July came. Leipzig welcomed the world’s best specialists. More than 1,000 young people arrived in Saxony at the beginning of July to win the competitions in their vocational skills. To get in the mood for Germany and WorldSkills, the international guests had various program points in the days before the competitions. The highlights included a visit of the partner teams to their respective partner schools.
On 2nd July, more than 1,000 young participants and their companions left the WorldSkills area on the Leipziger Messe premises in 55 buses headed for the partner schools. The day before the competitions was to present them with an exciting program in a relaxed atmosphere at the partner schools.
On arrival at the partner schools, the teams were greeted truly as behoves champions. Countless elementary school students welcomed their guests with cheers and a sea of flags in the partners’ national colours der Paten to their schools. In communities around Leipzig, even some mayors made time for an official reception for the international guests.
Both, students and guests, created a multifaceted and diversified program for the day. Many activities were offered to the guests and the students.
Few competitors will have expected to see their customary national dance performed by the students or to participate in “Skills” competitions against the elementary school students, already that day. The partner teams also had prepared some program points for the students. New Zealand danced the Haka, Japan sang a Japanese song at the top of their voices, and even the smallest teams such as Trinidad and Tobago had thought up something and presented a dance in traditional costume.
The top activity at many schools was a soccer tournament delighting young and old across language challenges.
You find some video impressions here:
At the end of the visit, gifts were exchanged, that will remind of this day for a long time, yet. Saying farewell to the partners was not hard that day, as they would re-meet for the Competition the very next day.
Even before the Competition’s beginning, that evening’s Opening Ceremony was another highlight of the day. One student per school had the honor to officially represent the partner school and accompany its partner country at the Parade of Nations. The evening was an emotional start to the WorldSkills Competition not just for the small flag bearers.
On 3rd July, more than 4,000 elementary school students and teachers travelled to WorldSkills Leipzig 2013. They experienced the start of the competitions in 46 skills and saw their heroes, whom they had met the day before, in action.
There were yellow “One School, One Country” caps of elementary school students everywhere at the Competition. The elementary school students cheered their partners, and the little visitors’ enthusiasm was obvious. They discovered the vocations presented, and were able to test themselves in the Worlds of Discovery of WorldSkills Leipzig 2013.
For the teams as well as the elementary school students and teachers this day and WorldSkills were an event never to be forgotten. Shortly after the competitions, it became clear that one or the other partnership will turn into a longer international friendship connection. The elementary school students have discovered other cultures and become inspired by them, some even beyond WorldSkills. And, who knows, maybe we will see one or the other elementary school student as a German participant at a future WorldSkills Competition.