Cedar Mountain students celebrate grandparents


In center and right, music teacher Michael Moschella and Phys. Ed. teacher Michele Gonnelli lead students through "Apple Tree."
By Vera Olinski

VERNON — Hundreds of important people in the lives of the Cedar Mountain Primary School children came to visit Nov. 20 and 21 for “Grandparents' Day.” Aunts, uncles, great-grandparents, grandparents, moms, dads, and siblings shadowed their student throughout the school.
Principal Rosemary Gebhardt said, over 200 people attended the first of four sessions. She added, “It's just nice to open the school. You really want the families in.”
During their visit, families took family photos at the photography studio in the cafeteria, enjoyed refreshments — supplied by the School Community Association — and attended the book fair in the Media Center, where grandparents bought wonderful books for happy grandchildren.
A little boy exclaimed, “And look, Grandpa Dave! “Here's the one! This is the one!”
Still for another treat, the first grade physical education and music classes combined together in the gym during the first session.
Physical education teacher Michele Gonnelli led the students through stretches, balancing, and jumping in place. She, too, then joined with the students as they moved to music, sang songs, and played rhythm games.
Students first imitated music teacher Michael Moschella in rhythm and movement to “Kinderszenen” by Robert Schumann and “Carmen's Overture” by George Bizet, receiving applause from grandparents, parents, and siblings.
They also danced and sang one of their favorites, “Sasha. Sasha. 1-2-3!”
“If you get lost do you cry?” Moschella asked.
“No!”
“What do you do?
“Raise your hand and go find the other person who is lost.”
Another highlight was singing together and playing, “Clap your hands together. Give a little shake. Make a happy circle. Then I cut the cake.” Two students divided from each other in the circle and ran in opposite directions around the outside — as a fun race — back to their spots. The onlookers screamed, cheered, jumped, and squealed, as Moschella brilliantly developed their singing ranges - without them even realizing it.
At the end, Moschella calmed everyone down with “Apple Tree,” where they followed each other in an intricate line. “Keep holding the person's hand,” he taught, “and just follow the person in front of you.”
“Wind up the apple tree, sang Moschella and students, “Hold on tight. Wind it all day, and wind it all night.”
“Is it fun to work with another class?” “Yeah!”
Moschella explained later, Gonnelli and he will continue to combine their two classes throughout the year on Mondays. He added, he loves how the students figure out changing partners after a few days and a lot of practice. What the students were doing, he continued, was very similar to their family dance night, where people of all ages — including babies — dance together; “It's really kind of fun.”