Gunnison Valley’s fifth-graders
present annual patriotic program
By Max Higbee
Oct. 19, 2017
GUNNISON—On Oct. 12, 1492, Christopher Columbus made landfall on an island, which its indigenous people called Guanahani. He would call it San Salvador.
Now, 525 years after that day, the fifth graders of Gunnison Valley Elementary School commemorated American history from Columbus to the present in their annual patriotic program. Through song and dance, they honored the nation’s history and paid tribute to the United States’ founders.
With a series of vignettes from the history of European settlement in what is now the United States, the children presented skits, songs and dances to tell stories and share ideas about American traditions. Each student had the chance to utter a line, or sing a solo or small-group musical number.
In one early scene, students portrayed Columbus and his fellow sailors while the rest of the fifth grade sang a song telling about Columbus’ journey and his ships.
Another vignette featured a student as Benjamin Franklin sharing some well-known maxims from his “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” concluding by singing the LDS Primary song “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise.”
One scene showed Mormon pioneers fending off a Native American raiding party. They got their handcart stuck in a ditch and had to wake up their big brother to pull it out.
Students danced the Virginia Reel, a dance influenced by Irish and English country dance styles, that was immensely popular in the United States from 1830-1890.
The patriotic program played to a packed gymnasium on its opening Thursday night performance at the elementary school. A second performance during school the next day played to all other students at the school.