The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Primary School Flags: A Nod to WIS’s Diverse Community

The flags surrounding the WIS primary school gym, a welcoming symbol of WIS’ international mission. (Lucy Randall/International Dateline)


As an international school, it is important for WIS to have various displays that demonstrate the school’s geographical diversity and mission. One of the most notable displays is the view of the gym at the WIS primary school. Glass panes overlook the gym, which is surrounded by numerous flags representing the nationalities that comprise the WIS community. 

The first flags were located in the assembly room at the previous campus on Olive Street and came from the Director of Admissions at the time, Dorrie Fuchs. WIS families then began donating their flags to the school so that their nationalities could be represented. 

WIS students play tetherball at the school’s former Olive Street campus. (Courtesy of the WIS Archives)

According to primary school French teacher Beatrice Ferrant, the flag collection grew at the request of Head of School Anne Marie Pierce when the primary school moved from Olive Street to the current 36th Street location in 1969. Primary School Principal at the time, Steven Dare, and Office Manager at the time, Samia Belguedj finished the job, ordering most of the flags that currently hang in the gymnasium. 

Story continues below advertisement

Over the years, flags have continued to enter the gym, not only from families but also in other ways. During the 2023-24 winter break, Primary School Assistant Principal Sava Vrbaski received a Serbian Flag as a gift from the Serbian Embassy. 

Currently, there are over 90 nationalities represented in the gym. Aside from being an eye-catching display, the flags demonstrate WIS’s goal of being a global learning community. 

“For me, these flags are essential to representing the international character of our school and they are a wonderful symbol of the diversity of our community,” said Ferrant

Fifth-grade English teacher Paul Skipper added that the flags spark many conversations among students and teachers. 

“[We] all belong to [a flag], so there is a universal connection to them,” Skipper said. 

The flags allow students to feel connected to their heritage while also fostering appreciation for other cultures around the world. They are a demonstration of WIS’s roots embedded in global connection. 

“They are a visual reminder that we are international here at WIS,” Skipper said. “This is not an American school. I am not in America when I am at [this] school. I am [part of] the world.” 


By Lucy Randall


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lucy Randall
Lucy Randall, Features Editor

Comments (0)

All International Dateline Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *