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Heritage students thank ‘My Hometown Hero’

MADISON – Many third- through sixth-graders at Heritage Elementary School acknowledged adults with a positive influence during “My Hometown Hero,” a PTA program on Sept. 18.

Music teacher Kristina Newsome, who served as writer, director and producer, said students voluntarily selected and celebrated local heroes. At first rehearsal, students brainstormed ways to honor heroes and received invitations for their guest(s) of honor.

“However, the show’s best part is students were co-producers. They helped cut, glue, prepare letters, prepare certificates, edit narrations, create art, setup/take down the stage, run sound, work backstage and make goodie bags,” Newsome said.

Their heroes included teachers, principals, parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, police officers, firefighters, soldiers, doctors, nurses and first-responders. Each honoree received a certificate of honor, personal letter, treat bag and photograph in the “Hall of Fame” slideshow.

Heritage endorses its “Leader in Me School” mantra as a way of life. “In everything we do, we strive to nurture and develop leadership,” Newsome said. “‘My Hometown Hero’ not only developed musical, theatrical and performance skills but also embodied the essence of what it means to be a student-leader.”

“It was thrilling to see the kids work together, support each other and strive for a common goal,” she said. “I’m so very proud of them all.”

Rainer Schram recognized his father Jesse. “My dad makes my entire family feel safe. I like it when he writes my brother and I notes in the mornings before he leaves for work. I think it’s great that he flew Apaches in the military. He helped keep the ground troops safe.”

Taylor Donald, Alex Moses, Sumerha Shaik and Ryleigh Heddy honored Kaye Harris, retired second-grade teacher. “When I started second grade, I was shy. Then, Mrs. Harris made me smile and we became friends for life,” Taylor said.

Caleb Barksdale spotlighted his grandparents, Buster and Babbsie Barksdale, a U.S. Air Force veteran and retired FBI agent, respectively. Syndey Snodgrass identified counselor Macy Smith because “she always has a smile even when she might be stressed. She has a big heart and is compassionate for other’s feelings.”

Jayda Yamaguchi honored her mother Regina, a physical therapist. Catherine Lowery selected great-uncle Darrell Black, a Lawrence County firefighter. Sophie Dow and Ade Johnson honored school nurse Emry Bryan.

Liza Hughey hosted “Songs of the Medical Staff,” a skit for her father, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jay Hughey. Pari Malhotra honored reading teacher Cassie McConnell “who taught us to learn in many ways.” Alyssa Gruber worked as backstage techie.

Noah Scott served as a narrator. Caden Burks honored his parents Crystal and Corey because “they’re the people I would go to for anything I need.”

Helping off-stage were Robert Carter, Lisa D’Antonio, Diana Lipski, Wendy Pharo, Ms. Robey, Christy Ryals, Katie Scruggs and Matt Stundtner.

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