Veteran Forsyth teacher Donna Militello is this year's May queen
Monday, May 1, 2017, was a blustery spring day that felt more like fall. Nonetheless, Forsyth School children from Pre-K (the 3/4 year olds) to Grade 6 were dressed and ready for May Day. With nearly 400 children, there are two maypoles on Falcon Field. At the north end of the field on the Gerdine House patio sits the dais with the “throne,” for the queen or king of May. In our case, the “throne” is a bit of an overstatement – it’s a wicker armchair.
This was the 15th May Day celebration at Forsyth School. In 2002, music teacher Cora Lippi initiated this spring all-School performance, and the first May Day was held on the parking lot with a single maypole. The late Carol Oppenheim, early childhood science teacher, was our first May queen.
In those days, where Falcon Field stands now there was a swimming pool and a field of wood chips where the kids played sports. Falcon Field made its debut in the fall of 2004, and it was a game changer for sports and P.E., obviously, and May Day. So, the May Day performances that we once held on the asphalt parking lot (yes, with a good glare on a sunny day, not to mention heat) or in the gym if it rained, now are staged on Falcon Field. With families around the edge of the field, May Day has become Forsyth’s spring performance for families.
Before the performance, the children carry their classroom chairs over to Falcon Field and seat themselves on the track that surrounds the field. This year, with a temperature of about 45 degrees, kids came out with jackets on and blankets to put over their legs. It was cold!
Music teacher Chris Thomas worked with each grade on their May Day dance in preparation. For the kids, May Day is a rite-of-passage activity: each grade performs the same dance from year to year, and kids look forward to the next level as they move through school. Conversely, they can help younger grades if need be, because they know the dances.
The first order of the day is always announcing the May queen or king. Who will be crowned May queen or king is a secret until it is announced at May Day. Mr. Thomas summoned veteran Forsyth teacher Donna Militello as this year’s queen. The kids were delighted. Mrs. M, a first grade teacher, has taught generations of Forsyth kids, led summer camps, led the Halloween faculty performance, coached sports, you name it, she’s done it.
The May queen was escorted around Falcon Field by Student Council before being crowned by drama teacher Jane Paradise and ascending her throne. The children brought baskets of flower up to their queen of May. After the coronation, it’s on to the dances beginning with Pre-Kindergarten and culminating in the weaving of the maypole ribbons by the sixth graders. In between each of the dances, somehow the teachers manage to help the kids enter and exit the field on cue.
As always, it was a beautiful May Day performance, one the children look forward to with great anticipation. Bravo, Forsyth students one and all, music teacher Mr. Thomas, and all of the classroom teachers, for such a spectacular May Day.