We Love America: Robins Elementary School students end annual patriotic performance with class

  • Published
  • By Lanorris Askew
  • 78th ABW/PA
A windy evening at times forced the "We Love America" cast and crew to hold tight to sheet music and lightweight props, but it was the outstanding performances showcasing the patriotism of the Robins Elementary School student body that blew the crowd away Friday.

Performing their 12th and final presentation of "We Love America," a patriotic program saluting all branches of the military and celebrating the family sacrifices made as part of a servicemember's career, the students made their final tribute something to remember.

Students from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade donned costumes and personas as they presented "Memories from the Trunk."

The background story was one that may be experienced any day of the year by any family in America. A young boy and his friends come across an old trunk belonging to his grandfather, a Vietnam veteran. Once opened, they are introduced to yesteryear as the grandfather explains what the contents meant to him and his fellow servicemen.

With celebrity guests like the Statue of Liberty, played by third grader Sierra Corvin, and the American eagle, played by third grader Hannah Wilson, opening the show, the evening was off to a great start.

Backed up by the Band of the U.S. Air Force Reserve's Reserve Generation, songs of old brought one veteran's memories to life.

When the two-hour program ended, cheers and applause filled the Museum of Aviation's amphitheater one last time.

Maj. Gen. Tom Owen, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander and special guest, said he is an old fan of the program.

"My son is a graduate of Robins Elementary so it's great to be back to enjoy a show again," he told the crowd after a special presentation from the school.

Bill Rose, school principal, called the show a success.

"I am truly proud of every one of you," he said.

"You are supportive of us and we want to support your mission," he told parents.

Jackie Raburn, fourth grade teacher, and Lea Floyd, Robins Elementary school nurse, served as co-coordinators of the production and were surprised with flowers.

"Teaching at Robins is a great joy and we couldn't be working with a better bunch of students," said Mrs. Raburn during her curtain call.

Mrs. Floyd made a special presentation of her own.

"When it (We Love America) was started, it was a stroke of genius," she said. "People have come and gone over the past 12 years, but one thing has remained constant and that one common denominator has been Mrs. Raburn. She has been on the committee from the start to the finish."

Calling Mrs. Raburn down front for a presentation from the students she said "We love America, but we love Jackie Raburn too."

Mrs. Raburn, who will wrap up a 27-year career at Robins this year with her final "We Love America" production, said the program requires a lot of hard work, but it is worth it.

"The children were wonderful. It's such a euphoric feeling knowing all of the work the children have put into this and that they will remember this for a long, long time," she said.

The school staff starts planning the event in August. Rehearsals start in February with auditions for the speaking parts and production continues for the next few months until the actual performance.

Mrs. Raburn has written the script for 12 years and this year's story gave the audience and the students the chance to appreciate what past generations have given this country.

"I'll wake up at 3 a.m. with a bright idea and jot it down," she said "We try to get songs in that the children really enjoy. I tell Lea my ideas and she makes them happen."