It’s an annual event – one that is enjoyed by performers and the audience alike.
The third grade classes at Dent Elementary put on their Patriotic Program for friends, family and fellow students over the course of a couple of days, this year on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 14 and 15. The presentation came just prior to the school observing the Presidents’ Day holiday on Monday, Feb. 18 and enjoying a week off from school.
But before classes were dismissed, the third graders donned costumes, sang songs, saluted the military, and provided a bit of a history lesson.
Serving as director for this year’s program was Angie Titsworth, a member of the third grade teaching team at Dent.
Fellow third grade teacher Becky Head agreed that the program is fun and said it also helps the students learn.
“Our program is connected to third grade Social Studies standards regarding what it means to be a ‘community’,” Head explained. “Our students also learn about our nation’s symbols.”
Yankee Doodle, the Statue of Liberty, a few presidents and even the Dent Dragon mascot put in appearances during the show.
“The program has been performed for many years, and was originally created by Dent teachers, with a few tweaks here and there,” added Head.
With some informational tidbits about history sprinkled in, the students also perform a number of songs, often with props.
On the playlist are: You’re A Grand Old Flag, Yankee Doodle, (Coming to) America by Neil Diamond, This Land is Your Land, Living in America by James Brown, The Dent Dragon Song, Thank You, Soldiers and The Star-Spangled Banner.
Retired, active duty military and reservists are all asked to stand and be recognized at one point in the program and, in one song, many of the students hold photos of relatives that are serving or have served in the nation’s Armed Forces.
During a Thursday performance, Lucas Eggers was able to be in attendance; his daughter Elizabeth’s class last year sent care packages to him as he was serving overseas.
On Thursday, Marine Corps reservist Christopher Robinson was unexpectedly able to attend his daughter’s performance, greeting nine-year-old Amelia after the show, the youngster wiping back tears in her excitement that dad was able to make it to the performance.
Serving with the Transportation Services Co. in Lathrop, Robinson has previously been deployed.
“She was six months old when he went in and was gone for seven months,” wife Tanya said. “That was a challenge.”
At the conclusion of the Friday morning performance, Head offered a few words of thanks.
She gave special recognition to fellow teacher Titsworth.
“She truly is the catalyst that brings this all to you,” she told the audience. “Also thank you to the Lions Club, every year they come to Dent and bring those American flags the kids used in the opening number.”
She then presented a packet of letters from the students to a Lions Club representative attending the show, thanking the club for its continued support of the students.