A Celebration of Play Packed Perkins Gymnasium

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Nearly 70 Perkins School second graders enthusiastically performed in “A Celebration Of Play” musical, delighting nearly 400 parents, siblings and others that attended the evening show in the gymnasium March 16th

With Spring and nicer weather outdoors soon to be appearing, Perkins School music teacher Lara Larsson devised the outdoor play theme for the musical production that consisted of students singing and dancing to “uniquely selected” songs. 

They included: "Believe In Yourself,” “Everything Spring,” “Do You Want To Go Outside And Play,” “Get Up, Get Up, Get Up,” “Summertime, Please Come Soon!” and “It’s Been A Good Day.” 

“All students in Perkins School rehearsed and practiced for the musical. Some students were unable to attend the evening performance, but all 2nd grade students in our general education and consultant teacher classrooms prepared for the musical during the school day during music classes and select PE classes,” Larsson said. 

She said retired Perkins School physical education teacher Sue Moak “generously” taught two dance numbers, “Blame it on the Boogie” and “Wipe Out” to the students. Moak also directed the dance numbers at the musical by dancing in front of the students. 

Second graders wore caps they colored in their classrooms as their costumes. 

“After the performance, the caps were theirs to take home as a memory token to remember the experience,” Larsson said. 

Newark Central School District Art Department Leader Courtney Dentel, who teaches art at both Perkins and Lincoln Schools, helped second graders after school paint 2D set pieces and props used in the performance and had second graders make “PRIDE Pets” aligned with the theme of the musical that were on display outside the gym March 16th for all to see. 

Larsson also credited Perkins teacher assistants Reesa Santell and Michele Renzi for making the balloon arch and gym decorations; ENL teacher Henrietta Binda and Perkins Principal Pete Czerkas for being the sound managers; Perkins Building substitute Kelly Puckett, one-on-one teacher aide Karie Granger, Reading teacher Jeannine King and speech therapist Theresa Bargh, second grade teacher Olivia Reho, Reading teacher Meaghan Trevett and Perkins and Lincoln Assistant Principal Mary Kate Wilbert for additional support. 

"I am so incredibly proud of our Perkins 2nd grade musicians and artists for demonstrating their PRIDE through performance and showcasing their work on their PRIDE Pets to their families in the art show. Before the performance, I reminded the students that this performance was a celebration of PLAY and not perfection, and that no matter what, they should be proud of their hard work and bravery to step up and perform for their families and friends. I told them that the night was theirs to fill the auditorium with energy and share their joy. Our Perkins musicians and artists did that and more. It truly is a blessing to be their music teacher,” Larsson said. 

“This is the second year we have done a 2nd grade musical,” Czerkas said. We shifted it to March which is Music Appreciation Month. Lara Larsson ran with this and brought in Courtney Dentel and Sue Moak, as well as other volunteer staff and the 2nd grade team. It was wonderful to see how it all came together from the music to the dances and the artwork. It brought a smile to all our faces to see how much fun the kids had and the grit they showed. The family and staff turnout was outstanding.”