While some people protested the 500th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the New World, the faculty, staff and children of Anderson Elementary School celebrated Columbus Day on Monday with all the pomp and circumstance they could muster.
A parade featuring pupils dressed in costumes kicked off the celebration. Costumes ranged from a girl in a pilgrim dress to children in Indian garb.
Skits, songs and dances continued on the outdoor basketball courts as parents and friends clapped, took pictures and celebrated the life and times of Christopher Columbus.
"At the start of the school year, the pupils embarked on a voyage _ a voyage of discovery," principal Dalia Jimenez said.
Each grade level has been learning about explorers of the 15th and 16th centuries. Monday, the lessons concluded with the festive celebration.
Children carried handmade banners and pushed gaily decorated "floats" _ carts donated by Pace Warehouse _ as they marched class by class. One float featured Queen Isabella, King Ferdinand and an Indian carrying a peace pipe seated around a castle.
Another float depicted the king, queen and Columbus together by a throne.
Brian Mankowski, 10, played the part of Columbus while Jose Abreu portrayed the king and Ashley Perry the queen.
"I never knew (Columbus) had brothers and a son," Brian said about his previous month of study.
"I didn't know he landed around the Bahama Islands and that he named the Indians because he thought he was in India," Jose said.
Ashley said she learned Columbus' father was a weaver.
"The researching was fun and the activities were great," Ashley said. "We made a model of a ship and wrote a poem."
But not all the studies were about Columbus. The children also studied Indians.
One fourth-grade classes studied Indians of North America and made books about their discoveries.
"While they were studying, they learned both parts (of the Indians and Columbus). They learned that everything wasn't so festive," teacher Theresa Cannella said.
After the celebration, pupils were treated to a treasure hunt. They looked for gold-painted pebbles around the school grounds, and when they found one they traded it in for a piece of candy from a large treasure chest.