Wilder Elementary School Honors Veterans
November 11, 2018
BY BRUCE MILLS
Honor, gratitude, service and sacrifice for "the great U.S. of A." are all concepts that students at Wilder Elementary School have learned recently about veterans and were able to showcase Friday in a special musical.
It was Wilder's Veterans Day Program put on mostly by fifth-graders at the school, but also including some other students. Peppered throughout the audience of mostly students in the K-5th grade school's gym were about 20 special V.I.P. guests - veterans, who are in some way connected to the school as a parent, grandparent or other close relative.
The genesis for the musical was in the summer when Wilder decided it wanted to become a STEM/STEAM school in Sumter School District. STEM is an acronym for a curriculum focus in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. STEAM adds the "A" for Arts to the academic concentration.
Adapting and applying the STEAM concept, two Wilder staff members set out to have each grade do an arts/musical performance this year to make the learning process fun.
Friday's Veterans Day musical performed by fifth-graders and the school's Honors Choir - consisting of select second- fifth-graders - was the first in a series of six planned performances at the South Sumter school.
The musical came from a popular play titled "American Voices" and consisted of a medley of nine songs from the original Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1918, - marking the end of World War I when patriotism started to reach new heights - through the later decades of the 20th Century.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
The students' musical arrangement included "Americana Medley," "Won't You Come Do the Charleston?," "I'll Be Home Real Soon" and "The New Deal Jump," among other classics.
Fourth-grader Chyla Isaac said she learned a lot about veterans in the process of practicing and performing the play.
"Veterans have saved many lives and serve our country for us," Isaac said.
U.S. Army veteran and Sumter resident Freddie McCrea has a great niece who attends Wilder, first-grader Lanayia Keitt, and attended the musical.
He said he thought it was a great program.
"It's great to see what the students learn in school about our country and those who sacrificed for our country," McCrea said.