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Everybody gets in the act with music to celebrate district's half century

Students, staff and alumni from Starpoint Central Schools gathered Tuesday evening to celebrate the district's first 50 years with "A Musical Celebration . . . Starpoint's First 50 Years."

Perhaps the most outstanding presentation of the night was the final number, "Circle of Life," by Elton John and Tim Rice, performed by the Starpoint K-12 Chorus.

The song, featured in the Disney movie "the Lion King," brought pupils and students of all ages on stage to complete the night's music, which featured performers singing and playing songs from all of the decades since the 1950s.

The evening concluded with a chance to drink 1950s style root beer floats and enjoy cupcakes in a soda shop in the high school gym manned by students and two members of the Board of Education -- Diane J. Braun and Mary Brown.

About 1,200 attended the event, held in the high school auditorium, said District Clerk Ruth Pirinelli.

According to the night's program, the district opened in 1956 after voters in the five districts decided to bring together the area's 22 one-room school houses.

Many in the audience said they came to the event to simply reminisce.

Dennis L. Witkop of Sanborn, who attended the event with his wife, Nancy, said, "I was in the class of '59, and Nancy was in the class of '60, and she was in the first freshman class, and I was in the first sophomore class."

Dennis Witkop said the formation of Starpoint was a good thing. "It was a great experience for us because we came from the one-room schools."

Betty J. Werth of Lockport, a retired cafeteria monitor, came to take in music at the event. "I love the kids," said the woman who worked in the district for 48 years.

Nancy Kraase Jayne of Sanborn, who was a member of Starpoint's first graduating class of 1958, also served as a member of the Alumni Chorus on Tuesday. She showed off her class ring, a gold piece with a garnet and gold star perched on the top.

School Superintendent C. Douglas Whelan, while taking a break from his root beer float, said: "I've had so many positive comments, and it's just a great thing . . . I'm really happy at the number of people in the community that came out and supported this."

e-mail: pkowalik@buffnews.com

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