May Day event inspires creativity, learning

Barnwell Primary School celebrated May Day with music, dancing and homemade hats.

May Day, which is the first day of May, is a time to celebrate the coming of summer with “lots of different customs that are expressions of joy and hope after a long winter,” said Kia Valentine, the school’s fine arts teacher.

Barnwell Primary School celebrated May Day on May 2. Family members attended the evening event which featured many May Day traditions, including a Maypole Dance and the procession of the May Court.

“It’s intended to become an annual event where we can come together as a school and community to celebrate old traditions and make new ones, recognize some of our most outstanding students, share the talents of our young people, and give students and their families the opportunity to be creative and just have fun making memories together,” said Valentine.

A traditional May Day dance is known as Maypole Dancing. People used to cut down young trees and stick them in the ground in the village where they would decorate them with flowers and streamers. At the school students held the streamers as they danced around the pole and weaved the streamers together.

Valentine thanked Mahuron’s Building Supply in Williston for designing, constructing and donating their pole.

A May Court is another tradition. The school put their own twist on the tradition by naming theirs an Honor Court. The court included Prince Bradley Richardson, Princess Timoni Howell, King Cameron Austin and Queen Midori Gosnell from third grade along with 32 attendants from second grade.

Students were chosen based on “exceptional character and leadership potential” by teachers and administrators. “These are students who make good choices even when no one is looking. They don’t expect a reward for doing what is right,” said Valentine. “Honor Court is our way of showing them how proud we are of their choices, as difficult as it can be at times to make that right choice.”

The event also included a touch of the Kentucky Derby, a notable Southern tradition, specifically Valentine’s favorite aspect – hats. Students and their families were encouraged to create a hat with a theme of their choosing as a way to foster creativity and memories.

Students paraded around in their hats as judges carefully watched for hats that caught their attention. Winners were selected based on originality, creativity and craftsmanship.