The La Junta Primary Kindergarten says "Hats Off" to parents, teachers, friends on Thursday. Mary Belew is the director.

The La Junta Primary School enjoyed the Ed Stafford Theatre kindergarten program from Wednesday evening on Thursday morning, plus a couple of nice presentations and a reading of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Alex Whitfield, in honor of Dr. Suess’s birthday on Friday, March 2.

Presentation of $500 from the Matthew Niklos Fund was an exciting moment. This year it will go to P.E. teacher Bill Remick to purchase all sorts of game balls: volleyballs, basketballs and soccer balls, so the primary kids can get in on the game fun the big kids have. Mrs. Mary Sue Nicklos was at the school and Chamber Representative Joe Ayala made the presentation of the check to Principal Cindi Haberman, who passed the check on to Mr. Remick.

All the tickets from the good behavior program were put into a bucket, and Mrs. Niklos drew a ticket for a child to win a $50 gift certificate from Walmart. The lucky (and well-behaved) winner was Anika Soto, a kindergarten student.

The kindergarten program was entitled “Hats Off” and featured a series of speakers, each with a themed hat, to introduce their singing numbers. The first number featured Principal Haberman, as she introduced the “Hats Off” number with a sweeping gesture taking off her top hat. Then came a funny baby getting ready for his bath for “Splish Splash,” always a big favorite with rock and roll fans. A hard hat introduced “Bob the Builder”; a pizza hat, “Pizza Pizza Dady-O”; a firefighter’s hat, “Stop, Drop and Roll”; a sailor’s hat, “A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea”; an engineer’s hat, “Little Red Caboose”; a cowgirl hat, “I Wanna Be a Cowboy in a Rodeo Show”; a pirate’s tricorn, “A Pirate We Shall Be”; a crown, “Old King Cole”; a sunny yellow hat, “Mr. Sun”; and many more the photographer wasn’t fast enough to catch.

Mary Belew’s direction is amazing in many ways - first of all how many group gestures she can teach to kindergarten students, or grades one and two, for that matter. Then, how she can rise to the occasion and pull a rabbit out of a hat, so to speak. Computer teacher and technical adviser Rick Salazar suggested we should call her Mrs. Belew and the Belew-Tones after she helped out Alex Whitfield in keeping attention through the reading of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” As anyone who has read a Dr. Seuss book to a group of young children knows, the books are a little on the long side for their attention span. Suddenly a big strong voice echoed, “Make up his mind!” in a pattern that was almost like a song or a rhythm pattern, and the kids immediately echoed her, drawing a grin from Whitfield. They continued the game and we were all entertained as Whifield read the whole book.