ISA Celebrates Sinterklaas

Traditionally, on the first Saturday after the 11 November, Sinterklaas arrives in The Netherlands. Accompanied by his helpers, called Pieten, Sinterklaas travels from Spain by steamboat and lands at a different port town each year. Once Sinterklaas disembarks the boat, he parades through the town on his white horse Amerigo, met by the cheers of excited children, who sing traditional Sinterklaas songs. His Pieten throw candy and pepernoten into the crowd. The event is broadcast live on national television in the Netherlands and Belgium.

On 5 December, Sinterklaas and Amerigo visited ISA. Lower School students celebrated in the main car park, by dancing and singing along to Sinterklaas songs. Each class designed and decorated colourful crowns for the event. Sinterklaas and Amerigo then arrived, accompanied by three brightly-clothed Pieten, who handed out sweet treats to the students.

Sinterklaas and Amerigo.

Grade 9 and 10 students normally celebrate Sinterklaas by buying a gift of around 15 euros for a randomly chosen classmate. However, this year, teachers and students have together decided to celebrate in a slightly different way. Instead of buying a gift for a classmate, the students have been asked to spend the same amount on a gift to an identified needy recipient in the Amsterdam region who is supported by the Salvation Army. On the 15 December, the gifts will be given to the Salvation Army to distribute to the recipients. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to light up this time of year for someone less fortunate by giving a small, thoughtful gift.

To kick off this initiative, on Monday 27 November, Margo Merts from the Salvation Army visited ISA to talk to students about her work and the people that their gifts will go to. Students gained a better understanding of how people from different backgrounds live. The target group of recipients is about 100 young adults, aged 16-23. Margo explained that these youths living under the care of the Salvation Army often suffer from a combination of problems, including addiction and learning difficulties.

She emphasised how receiving thoughtful gifts will make them feel; worth the thought and attention. So, the purpose of the gifts is to raise the self-esteem of these young adults and remind them that someone cares for them, which is a worthy cause. To guide the gift-giving, recipients will list a “wish” and a “need” on information cards. Margo’s final message to the students: learn to love yourself in the life that you live. This festive season, the Sinterklaas giving project will help the students to embrace the spirit of giving in a genuine and meaningful way.

Written by Megan Amelia