By ABBY SLANKER
Hilltop Elementary School third-graders honored famous Americans, past and present, during the school’s 27th annual Famous Americans program May 30.
Each third-grade student was dressed in a costume to portray a famous American figure of his or her choice. The students researched their choice, wrote a speech about him or her, created a costume to wear during the program and completed a classroom project on their famous American.
The students chose a variety of famous Americans, from entertainers to athletes, singers to entrepreneurs, stage and screen legends to fashion designers and artists to authors.
Some of the famous Americans chosen by the students included Judy Bloom, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Shirley Temple, Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jim Henson, Estee Lauder, Jonas Salk, Lou Gehrig, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pocahontas, Alexander Graham Bell, Jackie Robinson and Abner Doubleday.
To start the show, the Parade of Flags was presented. As a carrier and a guard escorted the flag down the aisle, a narrator gave the history of each flag. Flags presented included Continental, Gadsden, Grand Union, Betsy Ross, St. George’s Cross, King’s Colors, British Red Ensign, Bennington, Star Spangled Banner, Perry’s Flag, Alamo 1824, Bunker Hill, Rhode Island Regiment, Fort Moultrie, Stars and Bars, Confederate Battle, “48 Star” and Old Glory.
By class, each student took turns at the microphone to give the speech written, which included facts that identified his or her famous American, as if the famous American were speaking.
After each class had finished their speeches, the students joined together to sing, led by music teacher Tom Scurich and accompanied by Roni Sue Gregory. Songs included “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Sing a Song of Peace,” “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor,” “Fifty, Nifty United States,” “Armed Forces Salute,” “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.”
During “Armed Forces Salute,” Scurich asked members and veterans of the armed forces to stand when their branch of military anthem was sung.
“I would like to give a special welcome to parents, grandparents and friends and family members to our Famous Americans program. Our next selection is a tribute to the armed forces and I invite our honored veterans in the audience to stand when the anthem which represents your branch of the armed services in which you served is sung,” Scurich said.
Before the “Armed Forces Salute” commenced, Scurich asked for a moment of silence as the POW/MIA flag was presented.
As each anthem was performed during the salute, students presented the Army flag, Coast Guard flag, Marine flag, Air Force flag and Navy flag.
The third-graders also paid tribute to retiring librarian Sue Henderson, teacher Debbie Foote and Hilltop Principal Cathy Mowry.
As a grand finale to the show, during their final musical selection, the students unfolded and held up red, white and blue strips to form a giant paper American flag, much to the delight of audience members, triggering a standing ovation.