Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Oktava Ball


When the students here are in their final year of school, they have a celebratory ball. It is similar to our Prom in the USA, except that the parents are included, as well as several underclassmen and alumni. It is a very nice social affair. Oh, another difference is that there is drinking allowed, since people are allowed to drink alcohol here at the age of 18 and start, without penalty, well before that. My favorite part of the ball was the music. It was a far cry from the hip hop bump and grind music of our proms, and the dancing followed suit. Here, there was what I consider REAL dancing. Waltzes, Polkas, etc. The boys were so gallant. They came to the adults--even us teachers-- and politely asked us to dance with them. They even bowed! It was amazing.

Each lady was given a rose upon entering the ball. Students waited at the door to pass them out to us as we came in.

Dancing and talking with students. This is Jakub, a very nice boy.

Alena is the class teacher for Oktava class, meaning she has been their point person, supervising their progress at Gymnazium for eight years--from the year they entered the school. She was very pleased with how everything turned out, and here she is having a good time on the dance floor!


Here is Jana. She is a student who graduated maybe two years ago now. Maybe one? She was happy to return for this year's ball. You will remember her from a previous blog, a former student of my exchange partner.

Alena and Majda

This was something I had heard of but found surprising nonetheless. When the students are each called by name to be...I don't know what you call it...to be recognized and have that ribbon put around them, the parents and friends, etc., throw coins at them on the dance floor! I could not stop laughing every time it happened. Mostly I was laughing at myself and how it startled me--every time! It made such a racket and I wondered if it was somehow dangerous. Fistfulls of coins flung at them from every direction--and the girls in high-heeled shoes! But the kids enjoyed it, I think. Here they are picking up the coins afterward. I hear they collect the money and use it to buy something nice for themselves--or maybe a night at the pub. =)

The graduating Oktava class, their class teacher, and the principal.


Blogger Elaine said...


Sounds like a great time for all. I like the fact the the young have such respect for their teachers, fellow students and their families. American youth could learn a lot. Thanks for sharing as usual.

3:04 PM  

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