Stories delight students

Verla Whiteman, center, is flanked by members of the sixth grade at Central of Burden Elementary School after the special all-school assembly where she was the guest of honor.  Marsha Granberry, who presented the special assembly, is in the center back. Students front row, from left: Kaden Hendershott and Gabby Moody; back row: Jaxon Gatton, Tristan Loving, Olivia Nelson, Emily Trammell, Josey Toon and Hope Nelson. Fourth grader Olivia Nelson is holding flowers she presented to Whiteman.

Central of Burden Elementary School students were entertained at an end-of-school assembly Wednesday by Marsha Granberry, storyteller and former school music teacher from Winfield.

Granberry told three different stories that were separated by an energizer that got the children up and moving between stories.

“I love telling stories and especially to elementary age children, but the younger ones especially sometimes get restless so we do the moving activities,” Granberry said.

The entire elementary student body participated.

Verla Whiteman, longtime resident of Burden, was an honored guest. The 91-year-old is a former employee of the school system and Granberry wanted to do something special for her. Friends Arlene Otto, Marilyn Watt, Rita Ashenfelter and Donna Jackson accompanied her. Members of the faculty and staff were also in attendance. After the program, fourth-grader Olivia Nelson presented Whiteman with a floral bouquet.

Granberry taught in various public schools for 42 years before retiring to Winfield. She now has 17 piano students and has piano recitals twice a year to show off her students.

When teaching in Wichita, she apprenticed with a nationally recognized storyteller from St. Louis, Lynn Rubright, who came to train teachers in storytelling for handicapped students in a special program promoted by the Kansas Department of Education.

Granberry thinks that telling stories is better than reading.

“I feel that the art of oral traditions should be continued and promoted and what better way than through storytelling,” she said. “In this day of cell phones, we are so isolated we need to keep kids and adults involved.”

Donna Jackson said she thoroughly enjoyed the program and was glad that Whiteman was honored.

“I think the children enjoyed it and it was a fun way for them to end the school year,” Jackson said.

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