Students sing their way through history |

Students sing their way through history

Jim Grant / The Record-Courier

Five dozen Jacks Valley sixth-graders sang their way through history on Tuesday afternoon as they performed “Dig It! A Musical History of Ancient Civilizations.”

With the year almost out, the children of both Jacks Valley and Piñon Hills elementary schools have benefitted from a musical program supported in part by the Douglas County Education Foundation.

Elementary school music teacher Heather Kuener said an $848 grant helped fund the school’s music programs.

There are 1,000 students between the two schools, and because of the grant, Kuener was able to reduce the number of students performing at the same time from 160 to 80.

“That means increased opportunities for the children,” she said. “It also means we can get a library of music we can perform and have rights to.”

Without the money Kuener said she would be doubling groups up or reducing the number of things the children could do.

“I’m so proud of the sixth-graders,” she said. “They put in extra time outside of class, did it in full costume.”

The expanded program means expanded opportunities for those children whose talents might lie behind the scenes.

“We can have stage managers, lighting, production, choreographers,” she said. “Kids come with all kinds of talents. This lets us take the kids who have various talents and see how they fit into these shows.”

Kuener said she’s been teaching in Douglas schools for a dozen years.

“I love watching all these sixth-graders helping,” she said. “The more they feel like they own the shows, the more they are connected to school. We get some kids who don’t have a special connection with school and this can be that thing.”

The results are eight spring shows involving several grades.

“Doing the spring shows is a little overwhelming,” she said. “Everyone has made such a big effort. It’s something we share with the community.”