- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2001

For a few hours yesterday, a group of sixth-graders from Northeast made employees of the British Embassy forget they were 3,000 miles from home.
Fifty students from Burrville Elementary — a school "adopted" by the embassy — repaid their mentors with a British history musical, readings of Shakespearean poetry and a rendition of "God Save the Queen."
Everyone from the ambassador to the receptionists packed an auditorium at the embassy on Massachusetts Avenue NW. Members of the British military watched and smiled.
"They loved it. We had great feedback," said staffer Cathy Monaghan.
Embassies around Washington have been adopting D.C. elementary schools for a quarter century. Burrville Elementary has been linked for the past 15 years to the Canadians, Brazilians and others.
One year, Burrville students had a teleconference with students from another country. Another year, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton visited the school to welcome a Canadian entourage.
This year, the Brits took a turn. Diplomats have been visiting the school to share stories about their homeland and explain the workings of the embassy.
"Our aim is to have the students learn about a different country and culture, to enable them to have a global perspective," said Linda Johnson, the schools librarian and embassy-adoption teacher.
Gwendolyn Baccus, principal of Burr-ville Elementary, said her students are enthusiastic to learn about another nation when they have an opportunity to talk with someone who has lived there.
"The boys and girls study that country throughout the year, learning about the economy, the people, the geography," she said. "It really just brings the geography to life for them."
Prior to yesterdays program, the students toured the grounds — including areas off limits to most.
"Its very big, very nice, fancy," said Kendrick Holley, 11, speaking about the ambassadors residence. "It had, like, 60 rooms."
"I would like to live there," said his twin brother, Kendall.
The students presentation began with a rousing welcome from some cheerleaders, followed by singing of the British royal anthem.
Children showed off their projects along with oversized postcards describing an imaginary trip to Stonehenge and other famous sites.
They presented dramatic readings from the works of William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Alfred Lord Tennyson — all without notes.
The highlight was a play called "Pepys Show," an interpretation of British history as recorded in the journals of Samuel Pepys. The students acted out the great fire of London, the Restoration, even the plague.
Ambassador Christopher Meyer, before jetting off to New York, dropped by to tell his visitors he was honored to have them.
"Im so old that I cannot remember what it was like to be in school," he said. "I do know that I was never invited to an embassy."


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