Although Liikunta paiva was the last full day of school, the year officially ended on Saturday with the graduation ceremony.
There are 3 years of high school in Finland and the Abi's (featured in the Penkkarit article back in April) had finished there exams and it was time for them to receive their hats. In Finland it is traditional for all school leavers (who have passed their exams) to receive a special hat. Although they have to buy it themselves the graduation ceremony means that they have the right to wear it.
It is a big deal and the whole school attends the ceremony as well as all of the Abi's families, godparents and close friends. There are speeches, musical items and every Abi receives their hats and gives a bow or curtsy to the audience. The graduation is held in the local church, designed by the Finnish architect who also designed the Sydney Opera house. It is a really large building that seats a huge amount of people and that morning every inch of space was take by someone, there were that many people there.
On my third day in Lieksa I auditioned for the local choir. Choir has become one of my favourite things to go to during the week. I always look forward to Wednesday afternoon. It was a really good idea to join the choir because I have made friends with the other girls in choir and also learnt some useful Finnish phrases like ‘do you still play the banjo’ from the songs we have learnt. Being in the choir also meant that I got to take part in the graduation ceremony. So it was kind of special for me too, and it was nice to be a part of the school community rather then sit in the audience with no idea what was going on.
After the ceremony we headed back to school for ice-cream and to collect our marks. I received a perfect score in English.