82 5th Graders = 1 Variety Show


The KES Class of 2017 & KLSD Class of 2024

Life gets fun when individual talents can be used to create something completely original and much larger than one person. Because everyone has a talent necessary to the performance, we all have a part to play. Particularly in a Variety Show.

Some talents are obvious. The ability to sing, dance, or make someone laugh. The ability to play an instrument or perform acts of physical daring-do. A wicked sense of humor, a musical ear, the guts to stand up alone and sing into a microphone, deadpan comedic timing are oases of fun in the endless desert of everyday life.

On the way to last Friday’s 5th Grade Variety Show, my daughter (a 5th grader) and I talked about the number of artists it takes to create the image of one artist. “Mom, do you know how much work goes into creating a ‘pop star’?” Before working on the Variety Show she never really thought about it but her experiences over the past month got her thinking. “So, when Katy Perry or any other singer is singing, we’re really watching the work of a thousand of other artists who are circling behind the stage creating the dances, scenery, wardrobes, makeup, and everything else that makes Katy Perry, the performer.”

We talked about Broadway musicals where before the acclaimed performers even step on the stage, the costumes, staging, lighting, musical accompaniment are performed multiple times a day at a level that is deservedly, world renowned.

As your hand holds a microphone, your stagehand hoists the curtain.

The kids at this year’s 5th Grade Variety Show delivered a wonderful mélange of performances, all of which showcased their theatrical and comedic talents. These kids rocked it. Some kids managed to pull off synchronized swimming on a stage. Two girls delivered a beat poet worthy performance of Red Fish, Blue Fish, complete with drums and a hoola hoop. Piano solos, choreographed dances, costumes, Hamilton, enough cow bell to delight Christopher Walken: this Variety show had it all.

The performers deserve kudos for taking the time and energy to learn, rehearse, and hone their acts and then perform them for a packed gymnasium of families, friends, and classmates. That’s a level of gravitas that must be applauded.

And behind the stage a different performance was delivered. The kids who sat in darkness, wearing black so as to not be seen, silently crept about working the lighting, ropes, organizing props, and microphones. Armed with mini flashlights and exacting natures, these kids happily followed directions, one by one, each step necessary to complete the marathon of Variety Show performance. If all the world’s a stage, the players back stage set the world in motion.

The performers behind the stage worked in synchronicity with the on stage performers to create a tangible piece of art for the KES community. It was quite remarkable.

For the final number, all the 5th graders wore the same t-shirt and sang that song We Go Together from Grease.

But the most astonishing aspect of the performance was one that played out in the cafeteria during the show. And it wasn’t a performance at all.

Backstage, every 5th grader was given a t-shirt to wear during the finale. Because each t-shirt was ordered specifically for each child, each t-shirt had the kid’s name on the tag and on the freezer bag in which it was stored. The t-shirts were organized by teacher and each classroom was organized alphabetically. [Esther Strnad should win an award called Award for Best Ordering and Organizing.]  As each act came off the stage, the players were given their t-shirts. All empty plastic bags were kept in alphabetical order and the kids were told that after the final act, all shirts must come back to be refolded and re-bagged, to be worn again on their class trip to Chelsea Piers.

I spent Act 2 in the cafeteria obsessively organizing t-shirts. And I watched nearly all of the 82 KES 5th graders, boys and girls, filled with adrenaline and nervous energy snack on pretzels, chat with their classmates, flip water bottles, occasionally spit into the fan to see what would happen, congratulate, and high five each other. They encouraged each other, delivered constructive criticism in the most polite manner, and were, surprisingly, together. Towards the end, the backstagers came running along for their t-shirts and excitedly joined their classmates. It wasn’t an Upstairs, Downstairs situation. It wasn’t divided. They were remarkably united.

That song from Grease is mostly gibberish, containing only a handful of coherent lyrics.

But those lyrics are fitting for this year’s 5th Grade Variety Show:

We go together, remembered forever, that’s the way it should be, yeah.

We’re one of a kind, our names are signed, we’ll always be like one.

We’re for each other, just like my brother, we’ll always be together.

– Anne Foray


May Faculty & Staff Question of The Month

One of the most well known traditions in our town is the Katonah Fire Department Parade & Carnival. We are hoping this month’s faculty and staff blog question will get everyone excited for it.


What are YOUR favorite carnival/parade memories?


Having been in the Katonah Fire Department for 10 years I have quite a few memories. My favorite thing about the carnival is the food. The cheeseburgers with onions is the best thing on the menu. I worked in the Crazy Cat booth and watching people try the Oreo Challenge was always a good source of entertainment.

Patrick Vetere, 2nd Grade Teacher

When I first moved to Katonah I invited my parents to the Katonah Fire Department Parade.  My father was a Bronx boy and had never been to a small town parade like this. He loved it all!!

Enid Linden, Reading Interventionist

I remember the anticipation of the town carnival opening. After all the waiting, meeting up with friends, going on the rides and playing the games was so energizing. I  loved when one of us won a game where we got a HUGE stuffed animal to walk around with. The best part was when my mom decided I was old enough to go on my own without a grown-up!

Ms. Fulton, Social Worker

As a child, I loved waiting at the bottom of Valley Road for the clowns to come down in their little clown cars to hand out lollipops.  My friends and I would get so excited.  I’m so happy this tradition continues every year in Katonah.  And I love that my own children are able to share in the fun!

Kim Buckley, 2nd Grade Teacher

My favorite carnival memories are joining my students on all the fun rides- spinning upside-down, sideways and round and round!

Lynn Garofolo, 3rd Grade Teacher


-Samantha Holcman






April Faculty & Staff Question of The Month

The Katonah Elementary School PTO is launching a new blog column highlighting the amazing teachers and staff at KES.
We ask a fun question each month and see what they say. Here is April!


“April Showers, bring May flowers.”

What do you like best about rainy days?


I do like reading and writing on rainy days—but the best part, I think, is how rain makes everything outside look and smell so fresh and clean.

Cindy Mahan, Grade 1 Teacher


I love waking up to sound of rain dancing on the roof of our house and knowing that our morning activities will slow down. My children will ask me to make hot chocolate and pancakes and we’ll all enjoy our time together.

Lynn Garofolo, Grade 3 Teacher


Curling up with a good book on my porch.

Enid Linden – Reading Interventionist


On a rainy day I like to snuggle up on the couch and watch a good movie or TV show.

Kristin Couto, Grade 1 Teacher


My favorite thing about rainy days is wearing colorful rainboots!

Kim Buckley:), Grade 2 Teacher


On rainy days I like to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea:)

Deirdre Parkhurst, Grade 4 Teacher


Rainy days for me means “Pajama Day”, crafts and homemade popcorn with my kids.

Gloria Miller, Grade 5 Teacher