PEPPERELL -- Thirteen preschool students were honored at the Class of 2012 graduation ceremony for Appleseeds Elementary Tuesday.
A three-part, Wild-West themed program brought out moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and grandparents for the big day. Director Donna Bupphaves reflected on their year, which was spent learning, of course, but also decorating the room like a Wild West town, complete with cowboy hats, horses, covered wagons and Shorty's Roadhouse, which served hearty refreshments for those hitting the trail.
"This class is definitely our singers," Bupphaves said. "And among our most creative," she added, handing out the students multicolored yardstick horses before they began their selection of cowboy songs.
Popular favorites like "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain" were thrown in with more theatrical pieces such as "Little Horses," that had each student galloping back letters of the alphabet to Assistant Director Jeanne LeBlanc, who was serving as the choral conductor.
Returning student Liam Richard said "Little Horses" and "Let's Go Riding" were among his favorite selections because, quite simply, he "got to gallop."
"I am excited to be coming back," he said. "For the summer, I'm camping in Maine to play on a playground, go to the beach and sit around a campfire."
Richard's mom, dad, sister, nanny, papa and granny all came to see him recognized as one of the seven returning preschoolers. Graduate Kailyn Harris' sister
"Next year I'll be going to kindergarten, Kailyn Harris said, who during her time at Appleseeds became a master puzzler and singer. "I am going to camp to go swimming first though."
The Harris sisters said their favorite song selection was the Wild West finale "I'm a Little Cowhand." In addition, the group sung songs from their daily learning, including the educational hits "Days of the Week" and "Macarena Months" and their energetic opening song "Stand-Up Sit-Down," which Bupphaves said was a great way to beat stage fright.
"I want to thank you all for a great year," Bupphaves said, after handing out certificates and diplomas and saying goodbye to the graduates. "I wish well all the children going onto kindergarten and would like thank the parents for supporting them through their time at Appleseeds."
The preschool graduates were as follows, Ava Borecki, Nora Donnelly, Kailyn Harris, Emma Holmes, John "JJ" Masiello and Patrick "PJ" McNabb. The returning preschoolers were Madison Barber, Owen Barboza, Carleigh Gilmore, Mckenzie Harris, Lilee Petricca, Liam Richard and Jack Spengler.
The students will be participating in the Fourth of July parade on an Appleseeds Float on Saturday. A fundraising DVD was prepared by the Richard Family to help fund a project for the school's playground. Bupphaves said fundraising efforts have gone to improve the school's library, basketball hoops and umbrellas in the past.
Appleseed's summer program signups are now open as well. The school is offering weeklong sessions of cooking, creative arts and gardening classes for $100.
Follow Luke Steere at twitter.com/lsnashobapub.