Schools here begin class in April and hold graduation ceremonies in March; like spring, they represent renewal and rebirth. On Tuesday morning, in a school meeting hall in this tsunami-ravaged seaport, it became something else: an act of defiance, reports the New York Times. Gathering in the shadow of this seaport’s tsunami disaster zone, two solemn and often tearful crowds met to award diplomas to the sixth- and ninth-grade classes of Hashikami Elementary and Junior High schools. Inside the junior high auditorium, hundreds of refugees from the March 11 tsunami rolled up their blankets and moved to the rear to make way for a ritual that any parent would instantly recognize: the strains of Pachelbel’s Canon; the students’ march to the podium; the singing of school songs; the snapping of cellphone photos…

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