There was yet another excellent example of how the principal, faculty and staff, with assistance from members of the PTO, continue to build spirit and learning in the Thornton Elementary School community last Friday afternoon.
This lesson, unlike any other, came in form of an old-fashioned college pep rally, minus lighted torches and marching band music, that filled the air in Thornton’s paved play-yard with crisp cheers of all 350 students in grades one through five.
“We want to get in the children’s heads they have to go to college,” said Louse Denham, Thornton’s popular principal who was wearing the same gown she wore the day she received her Master’s Degree at Rhode Island College. “Today, the children are Scholars in Learning.”
Perhaps never before in Thornton’s history has the ageless school building been so bright and as well-decorated as it was during last Friday’s “College Pep Rally: Promoting Lifelong Learning for Thornton Elementary Scholars.”
At approximately 1:45 p.m., the students from all 17 Thornton classrooms started scooting into the playground decked out in a variety of colorful garb holding hand-made banners, signs and pennants of their favorite college and shouting specials cheers of the schools they were promoting.
It was a spillover from their classrooms, which were also neatly dressed in the names, official colors and mascots of colleges the students chose for what Tonia Ialongo, who teaches Special Education in grades one and two, said is another example of Thornton’s theme that proclaims “you have to have big dreams and high expectations.”
Judging from the placards each of the students made, the fact that Thornton’s staff stressed the need to go to college has already registered, as the students held signs that read “I’m training to be” and were followed by categories like education, medicine, military, mechanics and paleontology.
Even the main office, which is staffed by Cheryl Arnold, was a showpiece for The College of the Holy Cross.
Throughout the fun-filled and well-organized Pep Rally, it was obvious of how serious the students have learned the message teachers like Stephanie Drew reiterated, “we get in their minds early the need to go to college and that if you work hard you can get a scholarship.”
This lesson on learning also featured each classroom lining up then being called to perform a special skit or cheer in front of judges Kay McMahon, Amy Frisina-Scotti, Kate Hennessey, Paula Creamer and Cindy Joyce.
“Winners were selected and judged according to criteria including student participation and creativity,” Frisina-Scotti explained. “There was a winner selected for every grade level, however, there was a tie among the Second Grade classrooms, for they all had outstanding participation and creativity and made up of routines led by their classroom teachers.”
The complete list of classrooms, their teachers and colleges they represented includes: Grade 1—Ms. Drew, Mrs. Kalian, Curry College; Ms. Greco, Mrs. Ialongo, URI; Mrs. Shaffer, Texas A & M Corpus Christi; Ms. Zarcaro, Mrs. Wheeler, University of Florida. WINNER: URI.
Grade 2—Mrs. D’Arezzo, Mrs. Filipelli-Moan, Syracuse University; Mrs. Gagnon, Ms. O’Brien, Brown; Mrs. Maurano, Duquesne; Ms. Tellier, University of Santa Cruz. WINNER: All classrooms.
Grade 3—Mrs. Benedetti, Boston University; Ms. Desmarais, Roger Williams University; Ms. Rego, Johnson & Wales University. WINNER: Boston University.
Grade 4—Mrs. McDonald, Providence College; Mrs. Zinno, Mrs. Jadosz, URI: Ms. Gallucci, Ms. Colon, College of William and Mary. WINNER: Providence College.
Grade 5—Mrs. Cerbo-Charpentier, Mrs. Lima, East Carolina University; Mrs. Lawless, Rutgers University; Mrs. Muller, Mrs. Sammartino, University of Connecticut. WINNER: Connecticut.