The kindergarten class at Patton Elementary School in Roseville performs the winter tune “My Red Sled” at its holiday concert Dec. 17.

The kindergarten class at Patton Elementary School in Roseville performs the winter tune “My Red Sled” at its holiday concert Dec. 17.

Photo by Brendan Losinski


Eastpointe and Roseville schools kick off Christmas break with holiday spirit

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 20, 2019

 Students at Pleasantview Elementary School in Eastpointe perform several songs at the school’s holiday show.

Students at Pleasantview Elementary School in Eastpointe perform several songs at the school’s holiday show.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

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EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — The elementary school students in Eastpointe Community Schools and Roseville Community Schools began their holiday breaks with some Christmas fun.

Each school in both districts hosted their end-of-term concerts and performances to cap off the semester in a fun and educational way.

“It’s a great way to head into the Christmas season because it ties everything up,” said Laurie Hillebrand, the principal of Pleasantview Elementary School in Eastpointe. “It’s a celebration before they go home. It brings that sense of community before they are home for the holidays.”

Karen Marion, the vocal music teacher for Huron Park Elementary, Patton Elementary, Steenland Elementary and Fountain Elementary schools in Roseville, said the shows also serve as the end to several months of learning.

“It’s sort of like a final exam,” she explained. “They put all this stuff together from this long work in progress, and then they have to bring all that knowledge together to perform it in front of people.”

Educating kids in music and the arts takes on many different forms, even at the elementary level.

“We try to teach general music knowledge — how to read notes and the general dynamic of music — so they can get an idea for when they play instruments in band. They (will) know what to do,” said Marion. “We also try to teach them different cultures of music and different types of music.”

Giving children the opportunity to learn about music and perform provides them with a variety of benefits.

“I think it helps kids find their niche,” said Hillebrand. “There are some kids who are so quiet and shy in the classroom, and they just come out of their shell when they sing or rehearse. It’s also important for the community to come to the school and see what’s going on in the schools. It’s a great learning experience for them to see something through from beginning to end, and follow that through.”

“It’s so important for everyone to have this opportunity to get up in front of people and perform,” said Marion. “In the world, public speaking is probably the No. 1 fear people have, and I think performing as a group like this gives them some support to do that and get over that fear.”

While most schools had their students perform a vocal concert, Pleasantview Elementary did something extra special for the season with a shortened performance of Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic, “A Christmas Carol.”

Wendy Goodcourage, the co-op aide at the school, led the charge on putting the program together.

“We decided at the end of October that we wanted to put together a talent show or something,” she said. “We got together to do a holiday play. We found a condensed version of the play and put some sets and costumes together.”

She said the students all worked very hard to prepare.

“We worked for 15 minutes with the kids at each lunch in three groups,” Goodcourage said. “Then they went home and studied, and we started working with them for an hour after school starting last week.”

It was an exciting change of pace for the school and the district.

“We haven’t had a play or any kind of Christmas program in several years, so this is very, very exciting for us at Pleasantview,” Hillebrand said. “It’s the first time we’ve done a play like this. Ms. Goodcourage was our new co-op here. She and some other staff members thought it was a good idea, and we all came on board.”

Marion said music and other performances are a crucial part of elementary education, and getting to combine them with Christmas makes them extra special for the students.

“Children and music go together like Oreos and milk,” she said. “I think it’s so important for them to get exposure to all of the arts, as well as gym and science and music. Their brains are growing, and they absorb this information like a sponge. It’s also a break for their brain, because they are worked so hard in class, and at the same time it’s good for their brain, because they are using it; you use more of your brain playing a musical instrument than doing any other activity.”

The schools brought their own flair to their respective performances, but staff at the schools agreed that it was not only enjoyable for the kids, but also for the whole community.

“It’s fun for the kids, the parents, the teachers, and it’s a lot of fun for me,” remarked Marion. “Everyone gets into the Christmas spirit, and it is so much fun.”

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