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Youthful patriots show their spirit

“America is a tune. It must be sung together.”
And so it was. This quote by Gerald Stanley Lee describes the patriotic program presented by the fifth graders of Sunrise Elementary, under the direction of music teacher Sandy Hooks, last night at the Farris Theatre.
Two large, painted posters of the flag with a bald eagle, flanked the sides of the stage. A large one of the flag itself was displayed on the edge of the stage. Art teacher, Spencer Barr helped the students with these posters.
The program, titled “A Celebration of America,” began with the presentation of the colors by Jim Rippy representing VFW Post #4398 and Everett Ishmael representing American Legion Post #237. The students started with two numbers by Teresa Jennings, “This is America” and “Allegiance Rap,” a variation of the Pledge of Allegiance. This was followed by “The Star Spangled Banner,” sang by the children and the audience.
Parents and family members always enjoy seeing their children, siblings and friends on stage. They were not disappointed, as numerous students had speaking parts prior to each selection.
Speakers Shelby Koehler, Makenzi Turley, Austin McIntosh and Aaron Wilson led the way for the first of five Greg Gilpin numbers, “For Which it Stands.” Rae Ann Lanear, Kalynn Persell and Briley Conner combined their voices for one verse.
“The American Flag” featured speakers Chelsea Pigg, Brian Harris, Gwendolyn Fisher, Dylan Wilsdon, Calla Rowan, Kyle Jones and Kalynn Persell.
Daniel Stigall, Becca Westbrook, Sydney Wrisinger, Elizabeth Windsor, Aaron Hays and Alex Eastabrooks provided the speaking parts prior to “Free and Independent.”
“Welcome to the Gateway” speakers included Darion Weber, Angela Stocking, Tim Beasley, Bailey McGaugh, Andy Jin, Sam Stevenson, Haley Davis, Breanna Miller, Tatyanna Buenaflor, and Audrey True.
“Hold Back the Water” featured Taylor Rittmiller, Ashlin Smith, Kaylee Bradley, Hunter Riley, Adrienne Rendon, Mallory Cole and Luke Fickess as speakers.
Darion Weber, Alex Eastabrooks, Elizabeth Windsor, Aaron Hays and Angela Stocking were the speakers during “Mount Rushmore, The Original Rock Hall of Fame.”
“We Can Build a Bridge” featured speakers and a sextet. The speakers included Dakota Peel, Andy Jin, Aaron Wilson, Makenzi Turley, Shelby Koehler, Chelsea Pigg and Daniel Stigall. The sextet was made up of Rayanon Reed, Winter Gregory, Elizabeth Windsor, Emily Harris, Becca Westbrook and Thales Lathrop.
The conclusion of the final number, “American Tears,” brought the large audience to its feet and found quite a few wiping away tears. A tribute to this country, her national treasures, soldiers, battles, local heroes from this community and the remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001, the song featured a series of photos shown on a scrim that was lowered in front of the students. As the children sang, and the photos were shown one at a time, the message of gratitude to those who have fought for this country and who protect us everyday was loud and clear.
Students participating in the finale as speakers were Alexis Johnston, Gwendolyn Fisher and Becca Westbrook. Verses were sung by Brittany Wandell, Becca Westbrook, Kaytie Salmons, Hailey Wallace, Thales Lathrop, and Alexis Johnston.
The final frame of the program was silent, but moving. It read: We Will Never Forget.
Photo: Every heart beats true ‘neath the Red, White and Blue! The fifth graders from Sunrise Elementary presented their annual fall music program at the Farris Theatre last night. Left to right: Luke Fickess, Mallory Cole, Breanna Miller and Madison Cole join with their classmates in cheering for our country. (Photo by Brenda Jensen/The Daily News)

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