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Last November, fourth graders in Linda Kiracibasi’s lower school music class studied Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy on the eve of his 250th birthday. As part of the project, they looked at new lyrics, written in 2008 by the late Pete Seeger, an American folk singer and social activist. Then they took a stab at writing their own verse—using words that would be easy to understand and appropriate for younger children in lower school.

Following the presidential inauguration in January 2021, Linda suggested the students write letters to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, sharing the lyrics they had written and offering their advice to our new leaders. 

On December 9, Linda received a large envelope with "Office of the Vice President" in the return address, and inside was a note from Kamala Harris to the now fifth graders. “They are beyond thrilled, and many asked for a copy of the note,” Linda said. 

Following are their words of advice and new lyrics for Ode to Joy.

Treat everyone with respect.
Help to stop racism.
Treat people who are LGBTQ+ fairly.
Treat people with disabilities equally.
Find more homes for people who are homeless or live in shelters.
Help everyone to work together to unite our country.
Have better relationships between the US and other countries, and discourage war between other countries and the US.
We hope that you will put some focus into stopping climate change.
We also hope that you will help endangered animals in the USA.
Make more public lands and protect what we have from being destroyed or building on it.
Fund the government scientists and doctors to find a cure for Covid.
Tell people, restaurants, and companies to use less plastic.
Following are the new lyrics the students wrote for Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” 

ODE TO JOY
Work together, help each other,
Do the right and fix the wrong.
Let us make a brand new friendship,
Let it grow and keep it strong.
Everyone belongs in this world,
If one falls, then help them up.
Build a bridge and work together,
And be ready to move on.

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Take 10 Play Festival

North Shore Country Day’s annual 10-minute play festival “Take 10” returned to the stage on April 13. For the first time in three years, students performed their original plays in front of a live audience with performances in the NSCD Auditorium.

All seven plays were written, produced and directed by students in the upper school directing class. Some were based on personal experience, observations and media events, while others stemmed from pure creativity. Once the scripts were finalized, the student directors held auditions, cast the roles and ran their own rehearsals.

Read More about Take 10 Play Festival