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In The News

Waltham students propose state adopt 'County Song'

Posted by Admin

July 15, 2014 at 1:44 PM

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Original Article Here

By Eli Sherman

Posted Jan. 4, 2014 @ 12:01 am
Updated Jan 4, 2014 at 4:05 AM 


State Rep. Thomas Stanley introduces Our Lady’s students to the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.


The sound of singing children permeated the halls of the State House on a recent Thursday morning, as a group of third- and fourth-grade students from Our Lady’s Academy testified before a state committee.
Third-grade teacher Darci Hamann grew up in Maine and when she was in third grade, she learned a song called the “County Song.” The melody – paired with the tune of “Yankee-Doodle” – was so catchy that to this day she can still sing the song, which taught her the 16 counties of Maine. When she started teaching at Our Lady’s Academy, she found there was no county song for Massachusetts so she took matters into her own hands.
“I’ve been teaching this song, I’m going to say, for the last eight years,” said Hamann, a teacher at Our Lady’s Academy for 11 years. “When you watch the news and they talk about counties, you get a better picture of where it is.”
Hamann and her students decided to take the song to another level. During a school visit from state Rep. Thomas Stanley, D-Waltham, the students sang him the song, after which a plan was hatched. With the help of Stanley, Hamann and her students drafted bill H3459, Chapter 2, Section 61.
“The song ‘14 Counties of Massachusetts,’” words and music by Alissa Coates and Darci Hamann, as recorded by the third-grade class at Our Lady’s Academy in Waltham, shall be the official county song of the Commonwealth,” according to the bill.
The bill came before the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight on Dec. 19 and along with it came a sea of more than 50 students. Fourth-grade student Cecelia Noel, 10, stood up from her peers and walked bravely to the front of the room to sit and testify before committee members on behalf of the bill.
“We hope all the fourth-graders in Massachusetts learn this county song,” Noel told the committee members. 
Noel’s fellow classmates then joined her before the committee and burst into song, which was followed by an eruption of applause. Hamann was thrilled with her students’ performance.
“They are amazing. They are so brave and they’re so excited. This is really something they will never forget,” Hamann said.
Cecelia’s father, Sean Noel, accompanied the students to the State House and watched his daughter testify. Noel said he was delighted with the experience.
“[Cecelia] was really excited with the opportunity to be able to testify. She worked hard with her teacher on the speech and she was happy to be chosen to represent the school,” Noel said. “I was very proud. She worked very hard, but when you get the opportunity, which she was given in this case, the school is so supportive.”
The testimony and song was followed by a visit to the House chamber, where students gathered in front of the speaker’s podium for photos. The students then, by chance, bumped into House Speaker Robert DeLeo in the halls. Impromptu, the students performed the song again.
student Tristan, lives in Piety Corner and came to the State House to watch the students perform. Miller said Tristan had been practicing for weeks.
“The whole family knows it,” Miller said. “We are very proud of him and we hope it [passes].”
The committee will take the matter up on another day, according to Stanley, who said taking the students through the entire process was important so they might learn more about government. Stanley also conducted the State House tour, teaching the students tidbits about the building’s history along the way.
Our Lady’s Academy Principal Chandra Minor touted the excellence of her staff for taking initiatives like this and was enthused about what it meant for the students.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn about the process and see what the process is all about,” Minor said. “Just coming into this building and seeing it. Of course, when they go back to school there is going to be a lot of conversation around this.”

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