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Bridgeport Elementary sends students off for winter break with a sing-a-long

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Shayla Fernandez, a first-grader at Bridgeport Elementary School, dances to the song '12 Days of Gym Class,' during the school's sing-a-long before winter break.At Bridgeport Elementary School, they know how to start winter break off right.

The entire student body assembled in the cafeteria Friday afternoon for a sing-a-long, belting out popular standards like “Jingle Bells,” “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Up on the Housetop,” “Feliz Navidad,” and “Must Be Santa,” under the direction of longtime music teacher Anne Lewis, who accompanied several songs on piano.

Kindergarten and fifth-grade students got the spotlight as well, with kindergarteners dancing to the Spanish-language Christmas song “El Burrito de Belén” and a fifth-grade choir singing a carol and a medley.

Students really got an opportunity to stretch their legs — and their vocal cords — for “12 Days of Gym Class,” a silly sendup of “12 Days of Christmas” in which singers pantomime physical education activities and get to scream one of the recurring lines at the top of their lungs.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Students at Bridgeport Elementary School sing Christmas carols during the school's sing-a-long before winter break.
Some parents came out to enjoy the sing-a-long as well. Chairs were set up in the back of the cafeteria for them. Some young siblings even got up and danced to their favorite carols.

Lewis said students learned and practiced the carols all week in music class.

“I got this PowerPoint to help them with the words,” she said. “The way I approach it is with the little kids, like kindergarten and first grade, pretty much just teach them, like, you know, the 'fa-la-la-la-la' part, just some of the key words, because it's too many words for them.”

For Lewis, this was a special but “sad” sing-a-long. She is retiring at the end of the school year after 16 years at Bridgeport.

“I'll miss the kids,” she said. “Really, really miss them. I get a little choked up.”

Lewis said she has led an all-school sing-a-long every year she has been at Bridgeport.

School let out for two weeks of winter break right after the musical program, but families were invited back to Bridgeport later in the evening for a “posada,” a traditional Latin American Christmas festival. Dinner and a raffle were offered at the community event.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Kindergarteners in Elsa Palza-Rink's class dance and sing during Bridgeport Elementary School's sing-a-long.