Marshall celebrates upcoming holidays
August 28, 2008 · Updated 9:10 AM
MARYSVILLE It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Marshall Elementary School last week, and Hanukkah, Ramadan, Kwanzaa, and several other solemn or festive occasions.
The first of about a dozen holiday plays and concerts in local schools took place at Marshall last Friday, when the entire fourth-grade class put on the multicultural musical Paint the Town December.
The half-hour play included seven segments, each dedicated to exploring a different culture, religion or faith. One was a rock n roll riff on the holidays, others celebrated The Color of Las Posadas, a Hispanic version of Christmas, or explained how the dreidel is important to Hebrew culture, especially around Hanukkah. The cast included a variety of names, including familiar ones such as Ebenezer Scrooge; some others might be a little different to the standard-issue, European-based holidays, such as Rajih, Gaugin, Senora Frida and Magritte. But they were all there to make sure that everybody was included in the holidays, and that nobody got left out, according to the plays director, teacher Heather Moll.
We just really wanted to have a fun celebration that the whole community could come together around, Moll said after the performance. We have a diverse society here in Marysville. Ive had nothing put positive comments.
Matthew Ircink stood out in his top hat as he played one of the old standbys as Scrooge. He said it was a good idea to be inclusive during this time of the year.
Even though we have a bunch of different religions, we can all come together as one, Ircink said. If we dont all come together, then we would probably all fight.
The Marysville School District has 11,700 students, with almost 9 percent Native American, a large percentage of other ethnic minorities and more than 26 languages other than English spoken by students and their families. Three full-time employees help out with those learning English and so many students are from Spanish or Russian speaking homes that two translators are on staff to help bridge the gap.
Marshall Principle Michelle Gurnee said the play is the first of its kind at her school off of State Avenue at 116th Street. In past years they had the traditional Christmas pageant and decided to include a wide range of cultures in this years program.
She gestured to the variety of faces and skin tones in the student body as the fourth-graders nervously prepared to start their singing.
We have a lot of diversity here, Gurnee smiled.