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Birchview Elementary School Presents Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song™

February 1, 2012


Birchview Elementary School Presents Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song™

Plymouth, MN – Birchview Elementary School will host a community celebration honoring four Birchview community elders at the Birchview Elementary School gymnasium on Thursday, February 10, 2011, from 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM. The Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song™ community celebration will be hosted by America’s Troubadour, Larry Long, and is free and open to the public.

Long has been working in partnership with the West Metro Education Program (WMEP) to provide the Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song™ process for schools that are members of the WMEP consortium. Recently, Long has been working with students at Birchview Elementary School to collectively write songs and gather recitations that honor the life stories of the following community elders:

  • Jack Gause: Navy veteran, commercial diver, and wrestling icon who has lived in Plymouth for over 50 years.
  • LaDonna Hoy: Founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Outreach & Community Partners.
  • Yakao Yang: Hmong native from Laos who came to America to provide better opportunities for his family.
  • Benjamin Akhigbe: Nigerian native who is a business owner and building contractor.
  • Contact Information:
    Larry Long, Executive Director
    Community Celebration of Place
    3357 – 36th Ave S
    Minneapolis, MN 55406

    Principal Tom Koch
    Birchview Elementary School
    425 Ranchview Lane
    Plymouth, MN 55447


    Larry Long, called "a true American Troubadour" by author Studs Terkel, has made his life work the celebration of American stories and heroes. In a curriculum called Elders' Wisdom, Children's Song™, he has brought these heroes to the classroom to share their oral history with our younger generation. A Smithsonian Folkways recording artist, Larry has sung at major festivals, concerts and events throughout the U.S. and internationally. Long is a recipient of the prestigious Bush Artists Fellowship, the Pope John XXIII Award and In The Spirit of Crazy Horse Award for his work in forgotten communities. (www.larrylong.org)

    Founded out of demand for Long’s work across the country, Community Celebration of Place is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that uses oral history, music and art to strengthen communities and foster reconciliation. For more information visit www.communitycelebration.org.

    The West Metro Education Program (WMEP) School District was formed in 1989 to cooperatively address integration issues in the west metro area. The mission of WMEP is to build the collective capacity of its members; to raise the achievement of all students; to eliminate the racial achievement gap; and to prepare all learners to thrive in a diverse world through regional leadership, integrated learning opportunities, shared resources, and mutual support.
    Member districts of WMEP are: Brooklyn Center, Columbia Heights, Eden Prairie, Edina, Hopkins, Minneapolis, Richfield, Robbinsdale, St. Anthony/New Brighton, St, Louis Park, and Wayzata. (wmep.k12.mn.us)


I had the most awesome musical experience of my life—when I heard the fourth grade children at Eagle Heights Spanish Immersion school sing “Your Song” honoring our Elders! One of the elders was my son John. WHAT A SONG!

Thank You, Jack Tschida

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