State Tourism Officials Attend Encore Performance at Mountain View Elementary School

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 | 07:00pm

First Graders Give Stellar Grand Ole Opry Performance

NASHVILLE – Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker paid a visit to Mountain View Elementary School in Johnson City, Tenn. for the first grade class’s encore performance of the world-famous Grand Ole Opry. Commissioner Whitaker and other executive staff, along with Barb Schaetz, Grand Ole Opry representative, were in attendance to offer congratulations and make special presentations to the school, teacher Angie Baker and the more than 25 performing first graders.
A highlight of the morning’s program was the viewing of a special congratulatory video message from Gov. Phil Bredesen.
“These children are absolutely brilliant and the perfect Tennessee tourism ambassadors,” said Whitaker. “If imitation is truly the highest form of flattery, then the late Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Mother Maybelle Carter and Minnie Pearl should be grinning from ear to ear. What an inspiring way to showcase Tennessee’s music and heart with these adorable children from Mountain View Elementary School.”
Under the direction and inspiration of teacher Angie Baker, the first graders gave an energetic and delightful performance of some of the Grand Ole Opry’s highest moments. Hayden Brittain, as Johnny Cash, sang “Ring of Fire,” Haley Stout, as Minnie Pearl, shouted a rousing “Howdie, I’m just so proud to be here,” Manaishia Hughes-Moore, as Mother Maybelle Carter, performed a stirring rendition of “Keep On the Sunnyside” and Genesis Medina, as Hank Williams, got the crowd going with “Hey, Good Lookin.” Mountain View Elementary School is a Title One school, founded with an emphasis in visual and performing arts.
“I really feel like learning has to mean something to children, and they have to construct their learning,” said Baker. “In order for them to have a personal relationship with what they are studying, they need to know it’s really about them and how it connects to their own personal world.”
The tourism department’s Education Initiative was established to emphasize the importance of tourism in Tennessee’s education institutions. “This activity at Mountain View was more than a performance and in many ways sums up the Education Initiative,” said Whitaker. “The children learned about Tennessee’s music, history, culture and even geography. If the circle continues, one of these talented children might just step up to the microphone on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and have the career of a lifetime.”
The Grand Ole Opry, and the Nashville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, provided Baker with a weekend trip to Nashville, including tickets to the Grand Ole Opry. The children were given special Opry gift bags featuring the book, “Pardon Me, Is That The Grand Ole Opry?” and the Opry’s official candy bar, the GOO GOO Cluster.
The mission of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development is to create and promote travel to and within Tennessee, to develop programs that encourage and support the growth of the state’s tourism industry, to manage a system of welcome centers that provides visitors with a positive impression of Tennessee, and to encourage them to extend their stay, all of which contributes to the state’s economic growth, thereby enriching the quality of life for every Tennessean.

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