Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

North Ward Elementary

North Ward Elementary: Last dance around the maypole

After a long year filled with the rigors of language arts, math and social studies, one more challenge awaits 10-year-old Jordan Olds.

On the last day of school, she'll pair up with her friend Rachael to lead her fifth-grade classmates in the special dance her school has been known for since the 1920s.

Up and down and back and forth she'll glide, weaving ribbons in an intricate pattern around one of four maypoles on the lawn in front of the school. By the end of the dance, the poles will be transformed into bright bursts of color.

"You have to go in and out like you're making a twist in your hair," Jordan said. "Everybody has to do it right. If somebody messes up, the whole thing messes up."

It may look like child's play, but students take it very seriously, said fifth-grade teacher Wendy Noun, who performed the maypole dance herself when she was a student at North Ward in the early 1980s.

Noun's daughter, Katie, mastered the steps last year when she was a North Ward fifth-grader.

"It's almost like a rite of passage for fifth-graders," Noun said. "It's usually aligned with our spring concert, but we're doing it this year right after fifth-grade graduation."

The news of North Ward's closing hit Noun hard. For the past several years, she has taught in the same classroom where she sat as a student.

"I remember feeling very disappointed, very sad," she said. "We're all very close. If I've ever needed anything, the North Ward staff has been there."

She's looking forward to making one more memory. After Jordan, Rachael and the other fifth-graders take their turn, she plans to join her fellow teachers for one more dance around the maypole.

North Ward Elementary: Last dance around the maypole 05/23/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 23, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Congressman wants Trump to pay for Mar-a-Lago travel

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON -- This bill won’t go anywhere, but give Rep. Alcee Hastings creative points with the TRUMPED Act, aka Taxpayers Require Urgent Mandatory Protection from Egregious Debt Act of 2017:

  2. U.S. President Donald Trump and Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel walk together during arrival at Melsbroek Military Airport in Melsbroek, Belgium on Wednesday. US President Donald Trump is in Belgium to attend a NATO summit and to meet EU and Belgian officials. [AP photo]
  3. If Tony Dungy sticks around, he'll broadcast the 2021 Tampa Super Bowl for NBC

    Bucs

    Lost in the Super Tuesday news of the Super Bowl coming back to Tampa was this nugget:

    Pictured, from left, Dan Patrick, co-Host, Tony Dungy, studio analyst, Aaron Rodgers. [Ben Cohen/NBC]
  4. Tampa Bay home prices still soaring amid tight supply

    Real Estate

    But despite Tampa Bay recording its most expensive residential sale ever — $11.18 million for Clearwater's fabled Century Oaks estate — there were signs that the pace of price increases may be slowing just a bit for single-family homes.

    The historic Century Oaks estate overlooking Clearwater Harbor has sold for $11.18 million, the most ever paid for a home in the Tampa Bay area. [Courtesy: Coastal Properties Group]
  5. These days, don't hit the theme park without an app and a phone charger

    Florida

    Emile Crawford stocks two back-up phone battery chargers these days when she takes her kids to Disney World. But she dare not venture into a theme park without a smart phone app, an accessory becoming as necessary as sunscreen in Florida theme parks.

    A wristband visitors will wear at the new Volcano Bay water park in Orlando, Florida. The wristband, called Tapu Tapu, tells you when it's your turn to get on a ride. It also lets you pay for food so you don't have to carry a wallet and opens lockers so you don't have to  carry a key. (Universal via AP)