Flowers, confetti on first day of school in NKorea

Associated Press
In this Monday, April 2, 2012 photo, North Korean students break through lines of colorful ribbons as they arrive for their first day back to school during a ceremony to mark the start of a new school year at Pyongyang Middle School No. 1 in Pyongyang North Korea. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)
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PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korean students in Pyongyang celebrated the first day of their new school year this week with flowers and confetti.

It's a moment marked by ceremony for students entering a school for the first time, whether it's primary school, a university or something in between.

It's a tradition for the parents of primary school students to pin flowers on their new school uniforms. At middle school, older returning students do the honors for their new classmates.

At Pyongyang Middle School No. 1, which late leader Kim Jong Il attended as a teen, older students showered their new schoolmates with confetti Monday and pinned bright pink flowers on their chests.

Mothers wearing traditional Korean dresses posed for snapshots with their children, then squeezed into the back of classrooms as the students took their seats and opened up notebooks for the first day of school.

At the front of the room was a big whiteboard, with the portraits of late President Kim Il Sung and late leader Kim Jong Il hanging on the wall above it. At the back was a billboard with hand-painted instructions on rules and policies.

"I promise on behalf of my classmates to study hard," one student said in a brief ceremony in the courtyard outside the school.

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