By Natalie MAIER
Paper-made turkey hats bounced up and down upon the children’s tiny heads. Their eyes were wide and full of curiosity as they entered into the school auditorium. In celebration of Thanksgiving, Karen Nagao’s kindergarten class at Dunsmore Elementary held its annual stone soup ceremony at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 20 in the school auditorium. Members from the CVHS symphony orchestra were present to play for the occasion and parents were also invited.
“Stone Soup” is a renowned fable about travelers who come to a village and make soup that brings the whole community together. Inspired by the touching story, Nagao has put on a Thanksgiving celebration with every kindergarten class that she has taught for 28 years. She said that it helps the kids to grow together.
Dunsmore Principal Karen Stegman added, “[The Stone Soup story] is a great learning experience of how to share and about teamwork. [This annual celebration] also makes for a special day [at Dunsmore Elementary].”
Children were asked to bring ingredients, such as carrots, corn and tomatoes to make the soup for the special occasion. Prepared in a crock pot inside the kindergarten classroom, the soup began cooking on Monday.
“I never know how the soup will turn out every year, but it always tastes good,” Nagao said.
Before the meal and music began, the kindergarteners all took turns expressing what they were most thankful for. A majority of the kids said that they were most grateful for their families.
Beef and chicken soup were then served with sliced apples and cornbread while the symphony orchestra played.
Mat Schick, the music director at CVHS and father of kindergartener Nathan, was approached by Nagao several weeks ago to play at the event and he jumped at the chance.
Nagao and Schick agreed that it was a great opportunity for the kids to be introduced to and learn about instruments while enjoying good food.
“I encourage music in schools. With my son in kindergarten, it was an opportunity to come here,” Schick said.
Members of the symphony orchestra volunteered to play and selected pieces for the occasion, including several duets and trios.
After an hour of sitting and eating while listening to the music, the kids became a bit restless. Some of them stood up and began to dance to the more upbeat works.
Violinist Sarah Biagini and flutist Aubrie Cary, both sophomores, are two former students of Nagao. Cary remembered celebration stone soup in kindergarten.
“It was fun to play for people who are in my former school,” she said.
The children seemed to take pleasure in the Thanksgiving celebration, too. Kindergartener Emilia Greenway said that she enjoyed the chicken soup and her favorite instrument was the violin.