The screaming at the Roosevelt Elementary School gymnasium was reminiscent of an Elvis Presley concert Friday afternoon. Only Elvis already had left the building.
Roosevelt students and staff celebrated the building’s 50th anniversary last week, finishing off Friday afternoon with a performance by Elvis tribute artist Frank Werth and a sock hop.
Werth, dressed in black leather like Presley in his comeback TV special in 1968 — the same year Roosevelt opened — performed Presley’s hits “All Shook Up,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Jailhouse Rock.”
“Does everybody know who Elvis Presley is?” Werth asked as he took to the floor.
“Yes!” a small number of the students answered. A few of them even knew Presley’s songs.
“Are you ready to hear a couple?” Werth asked, getting an enthusiastic response.
Kindergarten teacher Michelle Callahan said the music teachers taught about Elvis in their classes last week, so the children learned about some of his songs and watched videos of performances.
Older students also researched about the past to learn styles of dress and pop culture. Each hallway in the school was decorated in the theme of a different decade of the 1960s to 1990s and featured popular sayings, television shows and events.
“It was a good history lesson, and it was fun,” she said.
Werth told the students he attended Roosevelt and so did his children. He said he travels all over the country performing his tribute to the King of Rock ’n’ Roll.
“Elvis was my idol back in school. His music was just too cool. It’s a lot of fun for me to do this,” he said.
“Did you take Elvis’ job?” one student asked.
“Honey, I sure wish,” Werth said.
After Werth’s performance, technology teacher Brittany Baldwin was disc jockey, playing 1950's music for a sock hop, although it was difficult to hear the music over the delighted screams of children hopping, dancing and running conga lines through the gym.
After the sock hop, the children returned to their classrooms for ice cream, donated by Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.
While decorating for the week, maintenance staff at the school discovered a time capsule above the drop ceiling near the main office. The capsule was marked to be opened on the school’s 60th anniversary, so it was left where it was found.