Students in Eric Sparks’ seventh grade class perform original songs honoring four community members.
Wednesday afternoon, seventh graders at Sanford Middle School performed in an Elders’ Wisdom Children’s Song event honoring four community members through recitation and songs. The four honorees were
- Bernadeia Johnson, superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools
- Mohamed Salah Abdi, educator and English language learner coordinator
- Officer Manny Granroos, Sanford’s police liaison
- Shed Garrettt, KMOJ Radio D.J., actor, and comedian
The program is a collaboration between the students, songwriter Larry Long, and Anthony Galloway. They work with each honoree to create original pieces that tell the story of each elders’ life.
From left, Officer Manny Granroos, Bernadeia Johnson, Shed Garrett, and Mohamed Salah Abdi stand on stage waiting for the program to begin.
Anthony Galloway (left), Martial Besombes, and Larry Long lead the children in the performance.
Students act out each honoree’s life story as it is being read.
Students tell the story of Bernadeia Johnson at the Elder’s Wisdom performance.
Words of Wisdom
Each elder left the students with their words of wisdom.
“You can educate yourself out of that poverty level by staying in school, going to college, in order to make a better career. Your parents can’t do it for you. Your friends and peers can’t do it for you. Only you can do it.” – Officer Manny Granroos
“Surround yourself with people who are consistent, who are doing the right things, and stay strong when temptations happen, because they do. I would also say, “read, read, read, read.” You can never read and write enough. Find out who you are, your true self, those things that you are passionate about, and do it because it’s the right thing to do.” – Bernadeia Johnson
“Do it yourself! If somebody says, “No, you’re not going to!” Say, “No, I can do it!” Just figure out what it is that you want to do. Figure out how to do it. YouTube has everything on there. You can learn everything on YouTube. You can build an engine, you can edit a video, you can do everything on YouTube where you have access to it. If you want to get stuff done, do it yourself.” Shedrick Garrett
“I want to leave two things with you. First and foremost, I want you to get educated. But education without discipline is not going to help you. You have to have both. Respect yourself, respect your teachers, and treat other in a respectful manner. Apply that with education and you will not go wrong.” -Mohamed Salah Abdi