By Norma Richman
Fourth Grade Forty-Niners
Share Songs and Friendship
High Point Academy’s fourth graders spent an afternoon with enthusiastic residents of Sierra Madre’s British Home. It was a match made in heaven. The children sang songs from California’s Gold Rush era, their favorite unit of study this year, while
Mr. Jesse Marquez, HPA’s choral music teacher, provided the piano accompaniment. Residents gathered in the beautiful dining room of the retirement home, an establishment that has been part of the community since 1931.
Dressed in matching straw hats and red bandanas, the kids belted out verses from “California”, “Shenandoah”, “The Banks of Sacramento”, and “Oh, California”. Interestingly, these songs share an association with the Gold Rush period, but the folk song “Shenandoah” is actually considered an American classic from the post-Civil War era. The class began practicing these numbers back in March as part of their studies. They then performed for parents at High Point’s annual Forty-Niner Pancake Breakfast and took the show on the road straight to the British Home, with teachers Amy Masserer and Becky Lievense at the helm.
Following their performance, they fanned out across the room to meet and greet their appreciative audience, cookies in hand.
Fourth graders offered thoughtful reflections on their experiences at The British Home, and it seems they got as much from the visit as their audience did.
“We don’t usually get to sing in front of an audience and it seemed like it warmed their [the residents’] hearts,” said Thomas J., age 9.
“It made me feel happy because the residents really liked when we sang. I think that they will remember this forever,” added Wyatt T., age 10.
Ten-year-old Leo L. said, “It made me feel good to present a good example to people who do not know about HPA.”
Samantha B., also 10, reflected on the day: “I felt happy and surprised because the oldest resident was 109. It was fun to sing to them because they probably don’t see their family very much.”
“It’s important to do community service because you can socialize with people and it made my day when I made the residents of the British Home happy,” said ten-year-old Hailey L. “I like the British Home because you can make friends with the residents,” she added.
Lauren L., age 10, summed up the whole experience this way:
“It’s good to do community service because some people may need help, but they don’t know how to get it.”