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New school, news mascot – and new school song!
A brand new school means brand new jitters for students and teachers, but Battle Creek Elementary’s music teacher soothed their souls with a new school song.
Gloria Burtis introduced the song she had written over the summer with a performance by 22 students. Jumping into the swing of things gave teachers and students a boost of confidence needed to start feeling at home in their new digs.
Burtis has been teaching since 1988 and especially loves teaching music.
“It’s important to have the experience and opportunity to learn about music and appreciate it,” she said. “I believe music helps the students with their academics. It gets that whole right brain, left brain thing going.”
Battle Creek’s teachers met in the spring to talk about school core values, including a motto, and to count votes for a school mascot.
“I took that information, and while on vacation to visit my mom, I wrote the song,” Burtis said.
The task took her about 20 hours to write the words and a couple of meetings to make sure the song was in tune with the school’s goals. Pulling in fourth- and fifth-graders to sing the song was more challenging, Burtis said.
“I called a lot of students and left a lot of messages,” she said. “It took about seven days and our goal was 12 students, but we were pleased because we ended up with about 22 student choir members for the ribbon cutting.”
Burtis believes a school song helps form a cohesive bond for everyone to work together.
“We are singing about things that matter to us all,” she said. “We are singing about community, so together we are building community – who we are and what we are trying to do.”
School enthusiasm stretched far outside the classroom doors.
“I think the kids that participated were enthusiastic because they got to be a part of it,” said Burtis.
And having students in the building for practice and performance was positive for staff and students.
“It was a good trial run to have kids in the room and to have to ‘teach,’” she said. “A new school for teachers is overwhelming for teachers, too.”
The song and performance might have been extra work, but Burtis was up for the challenge.
“In retrospect, it put me in a better focused mood,” she said. “Amidst all the boxes and all the moving –all the things that needed to be done – it felt like, ‘Oh this is what I am here for.’ It validated the entire workload heading up to the big day.”
“And it made me feel good,” Burtis said.
Go Battle Creek Bears! Students and teachers did GOOD today.