Columbia's first school to celebrate 25 years WEST COLUMBIA

June 09, 1993|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Staff Writer

You'd think that after 25 years, it would be all grown up, but Columbia's first school is still a kid at heart. And tomorrow Bryant Woods Elementary will celebrate with a party a fourth-grader would love.

In fact, it was Leslie Weinberg's fourth-grade enrichment tryout class, a group of 22 students in the gifted and talented program, who worked all year coming up with activities to mark the school's 25th anniversary.

"I think it was a really fun experience because you got to make something happen and adults don't have to do everything," said Michael Hoffman.

Tomorrow, the year's events will culminate with a program that class members will host in front of the school. County schools Superintendent Michael E. Hickey and Bryant Wood's first principal, John Vermette, will attend. And Andrew Waller, who entered kindergarten at the school in 1969, will speak at the celebration.

The school band will perform and each class will enter an item into a time capsule that will be kept at the Columbia Archives. Students will also perform the new school song.

Students have been busy learning the lyrics to "Dear Old Bryant Woods," sung to the tune of "It's a Grand Old Flag" and written by Ms. Weinberg's class.

"Everybody's learning about it now," said Michael. "On our bus we sing the song pretty much every day."

Students also will plant a sugar maple tree in front of the school, complete with a plaque that reads "In honor of 25 years of learning. Bryant Woods Elementary School 1969-1993."

"We looked at some books and found the sugar maple tree. We chose that one because it doesn't get many diseases and it has pretty colors in the fall," said Shawn Batani.

"It also doesn't attract bees," said Mariel Finucane.

The class held a bake sale and raised $136.25 to buy the plaque and tree. They have even arranged for other students who live near the school to water the maple during the summer.

"I learned that you have to work together and stick together or else it's not going to work," said Mariel.

The planning and execution of the birthday events were part of the curriculum for the enrichment tryout class, Ms. Weinberg said. "This was an excellent group to work with. They were very task oriented, very creative, and a lot of fun," she said.

In January and February, the class designed spirit wear -- school T-shirts, shorts and sweats bearing a design with the school mascot, a bear, and the words "We proudly celebrate 25 years of learning." The logo shirts were modeled after student Alec Best's design. He said the group chose black, silver, green and white for very specific reasons.

"Well, the school colors are green and white, and we chose silver for the 25th anniversary. The shirt is black because white gets dirty faster," Alec said.

Last month, Ms. Weinberg's class performed mini-histories in the PTA-sponsored Rock, Roll and Remember to remind teachers and parents of events during the school's 25-year history. They chronicled some past fads, wars, and school histories while introducing different time periods. Other students lip-synced songs from 1969 to present.

Class members say they've had fun and learned a lot. "I learned that we can really make a difference as kids," said Sara Schoen.

"It has to be a group effort," Alec said. "Each person does a little bit and it all comes together."

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