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A small tribute

photo
[Times photo: Ron Thompson]
Crystal River Primary School first-graders Amber McCallum, left, and James Curry make the "quiet" signal during a musical tribute to school librarians. The first-grade class put on The Cool School Crew, a musical tribute to the school's employees.

By PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 7, 2001


Students at Crystal River Primary School perform a musical that pays homage to the people who keep the district running.

CRYSTAL RIVER -- For a little while one recent morning, just before school ended for the summer, staff members at Crystal River Primary School looked different and shorter -- about the same size as first-graders.

They were "The Cool School Crew."

Students from the first-grade classes of Debbie Halcomb, Jonica Wyman, Lynn Maschio, Melissa Browning and Beth Edgar delighted their families and guests with an end-of-the-year play, the T.S. Dennison Co. Inc. rendition of a school's staff and their jobs.

The children dressed like the school professionals they were saluting and recited poems about each one. There also were big colorful drawings of the settings where the various school employees work.

The students began by reciting: "When we grow up we want to be like many different people we see. Around the school we found a few, and we practiced hard to show them to you."

Then the children broke into groups and talked about individual jobs. The "principals" were first.

"I am the principal of this school. Teachers and students are under my rule. Facing so many problems each day is making my hair turn very gray," the kids recited.

The children sometimes carried props with them. The "cafeteria workers" had large spoons and the "gym teachers" held various sports balls. And they were in costume. White clothing for the nurses, a sharp gray suit for one of the superintendents.

When it was their turn, the "art teachers" described their job: "Whenever you see me with my cart, you'll surely know that I teach art. I teach students to draw, to color and paint. It's hard work, but I won't faint."

In tribute to the building caretakers, the student "custodians" said: "I am a custodian of this beautiful place. My work is done at a very fast pace. Dusting, sweeping, mopping the floor, it's enough to make my back sore."

The school "nurses" said: "I feel heads to see if they're hot. This tells me who is sick or not. I put Band-Aids on all the cuts that happen when children trip in playground ruts."

There were a couple of songs included in the program, a library song and a one about the clinice -- "Just Say Ouch."

Marquita Richburg, 7, a "teacher" said she worked very hard on the play and thought they had been working on it for about one week. She thought it was fun, but said, "I was shy."

For Jordan Clark, 7, a "gym teacher," it seemed the rehearsals had been going on and on.

"It's been so long since we've been doing this," he said, about four days. In actuality they had been preparing for three weeks.

The children realized the production required a lot of work from them. Jacquie Imhoff, 7, who played a "superintendent," said the work was "very, very hard. My mom made me practice it, but I forgot it, so she let me read it and then I got it right."

Jacquie had to memorize: "Superintendent of schools is my title. The work I do is very vital. Balancing budgets is part of my job. I try to do it without a sob."

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