Home News Local news Music and Mocko Jumbies Put Finishing Touches on V.I. History Month

Music and Mocko Jumbies Put Finishing Touches on V.I. History Month


March 28, 2008 — Friday the schoolyard at Ricardo Richards Elementary School was packed with boisterous students getting into music, dance and mocko jumbies as the school wrapped up its celebration of V.I. History Month.
The theme for the month was "United in Culture, Heritage and Tradition." There were cultural activities such as storytelling by Janice Tutein, history presentations, Quelbe bands, Quadrille dancers, field trips and old time games.
"Our goal is to have students exposed to different cultural traditions of the past," said Suzette James, art teacher and committee member. "They had fun playing local games and enjoyed local treats."
For the culmination Friday, students brought their chairs from the classrooms, forming a semicircle around a makeshift stage in the shade of a huge almond tree.
Dimitri Copeman, saxophone player in the V.I. Ensemble and art teacher at Lew Muckle Elementary School, had four students onstage playing instruments they had just learned to play in the morning. One blew on a muffler pipe, another played scratch and two tapped on congas.
"I play the violin, and I loved getting a chance to learn the congas," said Angelique Flemming.
Dressed in white satin skirts with red trim and red satin bodices, three young ladies did Calypso dances choreographed by their gym teacher, Elaine Schuster.
The Angels dance group, made up of nine girls, did the "Boozie Walk" — drawing some hoots and hollers from the boys.
Also putting on a lively show for the students were eight Guardians of Culture mocko jumbies, including five novice junior mocko jumbies. The older ones were students from St. Croix Educational Complex and Central High School. Coordinator for the group based at Ricardo Richards is Anna Thompson.
The junior mocko jumbies, dressed in costumes of bright turquoise, chartreuse, pink and magenta, strutted and danced almost as well as the big students.
Students brought in pets for a petting zoo held early in the day.
"We had a lamb here that some kids thought was a cow," said Zahra O'Reilly, gifted and talented teacher. "It was a great learning experience and sharing time for students."
The hallways were decorated with murals outside each classroom. The murals by students done in different mediums depicted fishermen, indigenous people, Crucian Festival, music and sugar cane production.
"This annual celebration of culture, history and tradition was outstanding," said Colleen Williams, principal at Ricardo Richards.
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