A winning formula at Hawthorn choir
Music teacher Suzanne Jozwiak leads the chorus as older kids sing to younger kids at Hawthorn Elementary South on Dec 20. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:16AM
VERNON HILLS – What do middle school students plus elementary school students add up to?
If you’re a student in Hawthorn School District 73, the answer is a rich and rewarding school experience.
On Dec. 20, Middle School South choral students performed for their young cohorts at Elementary South. The concert is an annual tradition that has been going on ever since a concert was performed 12 years ago when Middle South moved into a new building.
Dr. Jill Martin, principal of Hawthorn Elementary South, said that the concert is one of many ways the middle school and the elementary students interact on a regular basis.
Because the schools are so close to one another, there is a long history of this.
Some of the things the older kids do, Martin said, are come over regularly for recess, perform skits on bullying, read in classrooms and more.
“Every time our younger students see the older kids doing something, they look forward to one day doing it themselves,” Martin said.
There is a benefit for the middle school kids too, Martin said.
“It’s an added responsibility for them,” she said. “They are being role models.”
The choral concert is particularly special for many of the students.
“It is a highlight for the older children to go back to their elementary building, hug their favorite teachers, sing for the students and staff, and share loving memories from when they attended school here,” Martin said.
The concert has another advantage.
“It is a great opportunity to inspire the younger students to join chorus in middle school,” said Suzanne Jozwiak, the choral director at Middle South.
So ingrained in the tradition of this concert that Jozwiak said the Elementary South principal and Middle South choral director converse over the summer to set a date for the concert. Thus it is an official event on both schools’ calendars.
Jozwiak reiterated that the older students very much enjoy giving the concert.
“They really enjoy performing for the younger students who are often brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors,” she said.
This year, the collaboration has gone further with both schools’ students learning some of the same songs that will be performed. The elementary students sang the melodies while the middle school students added the harmonies.