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Parthenia Williams has on her famous bulletin board the fourth-grade musical programs she saved during her years as a fourth-grade teacher. She -- and I -- recall her first musical, for the class performed a musical based on myths. At that time, studying D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths was a major part of the language arts curriculum. Since Miss Williams was a Greek myth buff, I would like to think that it was she who came up with the idea for this musical. Previous musicals have included The Jungle Story, Home Sweet Home, Egypt Rocks, Dr. Seuss Goes to Hollywood, Pirate’s Challenge, The Hobbit, and this year’s James and the Giant Peach.

In fact, for Katie Crowley’ 08 and Madeline Holtzman ‘08, the fourth-grade musical was the highlight of their fourth-grade year. "Our drama teacher chose a book (The Hobbit) and wrote the play; each class got to write a song.. . The best part was the overall good feeling after[the performance].” Madeline added, “It’s fun to share your talent with other people. One thing I learned [was] if you mess up, don’t act as if it’s a big deal. Just keep going.”

I am not sure when the tradition of the fourth-grade musical began, but I do recall seeing -- and loving --Tom Sawyer in 1982 or 1983.

Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.