There is something about a parade that can take away the winter blues. Perhaps it is the eagerness of those that participate. Perhaps it is the friendly competition of costumes and floats that make one anxiously look around the corner to see who is coming next.
Each group taking part in the parade is no more or less important than the next. Each process is different. For Petrova Middle School it has been a powerhouse of participation. With over ten dedicated teachers and 40-80 students, their contribution to the 50’s celebration will be fabulous.
The art room at the middle school is filled with parade goodies. Cardboard cutout electric guitars rest against the wall and oversized record albums highlight hits from the 1950s. A giant jukebox ties all the elements together. Students slowly filter in throwing names out with familiarity built around weeks of work. A few students grab Lucy while others wrestle with Howdy Doody. The room is tight and gets smaller still as Marilyn and Elvis join the festivities.
The core group of Petrova Middle School staff is Lynda Peer, Beth Whalen, Maria DeAngelo, Rose Kelly, Christina Grant, and Cindy Hovland with Scott Smith, Jason Wamsganz and Jason Smith working out the music and parade logistics.
This parade group came about from “The Free Spirits”, the philosophy being loose and relaxed. After that group disbanded, this Petrova group later formed with many of the same ideals.
Peer stresses the importance of the “loose” philosophy for the students’ participation. “This isn’t homework. From start to finish there are about 40-80 children involved. This is people contributing what they can, when they can.” The enthusiasm and creativity shows.
Maria DeAngelo agrees, “Everyone brings something to the table. We all have skills that contribute.”
Students researched 50’s icons, settling on four well-known figures. Matt Paul of Loon Works volunteered his time to rough out the giant puppets using foam insulation to build the basic structures. He dedicated a few hours to each of the four puppets. The students then began to papier-mâché and paint the heads and hands, dyeing sheets for clothes and helping construct the oversized figures.
After weeks of volunteering, the hard work will pay off. The elaborate display will be walking down Main Street today. Give a wave and remember you heard it here first. The King is still larger than life and last spotted in Saranac Lake.