All Roads Lead to Carmel

In the spirit of “One Carmel” Kent Primary School Principal Dan Brown sent home a survey this winter asking parents about their families’ heritage.  

The survey was optional, of course, but almost 200 parents gladly answered.  

“In America, most of us hail from somewhere else,” Principal Brown said. “Here at Kent Primary, we have a very diverse student body, and we want to celebrate that.”    

When the results came in, Italy and Ireland were listed as parents’ homelands most often. A total of 71 parents (29 moms/42 dads) cited Italian as their heritage, while 42 parents (25 moms/17 dads) said their families traced their roots to Ireland. In all there were more than 60 countries – from Albania to Uzbekistan – represented.  

After talking about their heritage, students throughout the school made flags of the country that their families emigrated from.  

“Sometimes it was the parents who came from the country or the grandparents or the children themselves,” third grade Teacher Marie Bova said. “Several children drew more than one flag.” 

That was the case for Joey, a third grader.  

“My family is from a lot of different countries,” Joey said. “We are from Italy, U.S.A., Brazil and Czechoslovakia.  I made my flag of four countries.”  

Brooklyn, another third grader, said she made an Italian flag.  

“Most of my family is from Italy,” Brooklyn said. “Some of them even speak Italian.” 

Sophie Bolla, the school’s art teacher, was excited to jump into the project. The result was a map with lines from countries across the globe all leading to Carmel.  

“I wanted to represent the data from the survey visually,” Bolla said. “I put pins in the map for each country that a child named and then attached a string from the country to reach Carmel.” 

The map now hangs in the front lobby for all to see.  

Throughout the spring, Bolla used the map’s information to link to the children’s art projects.  

“I’m connecting moments,” she said. “In second grade, we studied the Nazca Lines, the ancient etchings in the desert in Southern Peru, and we have some students from Peru, so we talked about that.”  

Students were excited to make those connections, she said.  

“We have students who come from all over the world, and we want them to feel welcome here,” Bova said. “No matter where they come from, Carmel is their home.”