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Sandy Hook Students Travel The World While Listening To Stories



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Sandy Hook Students Travel The World While Listening To Stories

By Eliza Hallabeck

Students at Sandy Hook Elementary School took three waves to visit the cafeteria on Tuesday, September 16, because a special presentation was taking place there.

Stories from around the world made a stop in the school in order to get the students involved in the sharing and telling of the stories.

Beth and Scott Bierko are a story-telling duo that travel around New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to share stories they have learned and turned into songs for students.

“The kids have been great,” said Scott. “They come up and take part in the performances.”

Performing as Beth, Scott and Friends for 16 years, the Bierkos got started with singing the stories because they merged two of the things they love together.

“We love performing and teaching,” said Scott, “and this was a way of literally marrying the two.”

Around 1 pm the afternoon, kindergarten students and the first grade students entered the cafeteria to see Beth, Scott and Friends perform and sing stories they collected from around the world.

“Now’s the time to join us on a journey,” sang Beth. “Come along with me.”

During the opening, Scott announced to the students that they would be leaving Sandy Hook during the presentation.

“We’re not going to stay in Sandy Hook? Why not? It’s lovely here,” Beth responded.

Scott explained the students needed to go to India for the first story.

“You don’t need a ticket on a plane, a train, or a car,” sang Beth. “All you need in your imagination. It will take you far.”

Scott said the first story they were going to share with the audience needed three volunteers, and the volunteers would be playing the part of animals in the story. Folktales from India tend to use animals to tell the story, according to Scott.

Two boys had to wear ox horns and one boy was given a pig nose and ears to wear.

Then Beth and Scott began to sing the story of two oxen who worked all day while a pig sat around and ate until he got fat. The young ox complained to the older ox, but the older ox told him to wait.

One day, they continued singing, the farmer’s daughter on the farm where the animals lived announced she was getting married. When the feast for the celebration was brought out, the pig was on the plate.

The big ox smiled, and the little ox gasped, sang Beth.

After the story was told the first volunteers sat down, and more volunteers were recruited from the crowd.

Scott told the audience they would be going to China next, and he and Beth began to tell the tale of an emperor who believed the beauty of a flower can be surpassed by nothing else in the world.

Several young children came to visit the emperor, and he told them if they could grow flowers from the seeds he gave them in one year, then he would make the best flower grower his successor.

One young girl, who though she had an advantage because she was a farmer’s daughter, could not make her flower grow. She reported to the emperor at the end of the year with the other children, but all of the other flowers had grown.

After she explained her failure to the emperor, he told the farmer’s daughter that all of the seeds had been dead when he gave them to the children a year ago. She was the only child who had been honest and not cheated by planting their own seed.

She was rewarded by becoming the first empress of china.

The audience of students got involved in all of the stories, and a teacher was also given the opportunity to take part during each of the three presentations.

This was the first time Beth, Scott and Friends performed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but they have performed in Newtown during previous years at Middle Gate Elementary School and at Head O’ Meadow Elementary School, according to Scott.

“[The students] play parts in the stories so the story telling comes alive for them,” said Scott before the performance.

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