Riley Avenue Elementary School students performed Saturday afternoon in what will be the last of fourth-grade teacher Jim Schaefer’s annual production of the fractured fairy tale “Cinderella.”
“Cinderella” has been an annual tradition in Riverhead for 26 years, starting when Mr. Schaefer taught at Pulaski Street School, and is performed in the Riverhead High School auditorium.
Mr. Schaefer, who is retiring after this school year, plays piano for the musical and his accompanied by elementary music teacher Marguerite Volonts on violin, who is also retiring.
The production uses songs and dances from a number of Broadway musicals to tell the story of Cinderella, with boys traditionally playing the parts of Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters.
Almost 60 students (over one-half of the fourth grade class at Riley) rehearse for four months to learn the songs and dance routines. The live music, in addition to taped music, wireless microphones, spotlights, backdrops, costumes, and makeup bring the performance to life.
Every year, the students sing, act, and dance their way into the hearts of what always amounts to a packed crowed of some 800 in the auditorium.
“This has been a 26 year tradition, and even though it is over, I know the memories the students have will last for their lifetime,” said Mr. Schaefer, a News-Review Educator of the Year for 2011. “As the song goes, nothing is impossible.”
Riley principal David Enos summed up the end of the “Schaefer era.”
“The Riley community recognizes and appreciates Mr. Schaefer’s more than 25 years of work on Cinderella. This production, which has become a tradition, has positively impacted hundreds of students over the years, many of whom attended the final performances on March 2,” he said.
“We wish Mr. Schaefer the best as he begins a new chapter in his life.”
Princess- Jordyn Jager
Stepsistors- Skip Weaver (purple wig), Sean Maki (green wig), Ethan Lucas (red wig) and Wally Gravagna (pink wig).
Fairy Godmothers-Emma Russelll, Sky Hanson, Madison Santini and Isabella Williams.
King- Luke Sisti
Guards- Marcello LoPiccolo and Matthew Yakaboski