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Kids offer walk down Memory Lane in SCV

• Community 'meets' Newhalls, Hart and Vasquez.

Posted: March 29, 2008 1:35 a.m.
Updated: May 30, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Erin Meottel, dressed as Ruth Newhall, waves to her parents in the audience during Northlake Hills Elementary School's presentation on Santa Clarita History Day. Students dressed as prominent Samta Clarita Valley residents from now and the past. Moettel's hat and purse belonged to Newhall. Sydney Brass, in plaid shirt and tie, is dressed as Scot...

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Northlake Hills Elementary School threw a party this week and a veritable who's who of Santa Clarita Valley movers and shakers attended, including William S. Hart, Henry Mayo Newhall and even notorious outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez.

The Castaic school's third-grade students have been studying the history of the Santa Clarita Valley, and presented a walk-through event Wednesday night for friends and family to show what they've learned over the past few weeks. Each third grade class learned about a specific topic, from transportation to movie making.

Wearing a Spanish helmet, khakis and boots, Megan Sanders stood by her display telling people about the influence Spain had on our valley.

"I'm Gaspar de Portola. He was the first European to come to the Santa Clarita Valley," Sanders said, pointing to pictures on her display.

She said she now knows everything there is to know about de Portola, the Spanish soldier, explorer, governor of Las Californias, and founder of several California missions.

"I memorized my whole speech - that took me a long time," Sanders said.

Madonna Connors' class studied the Tataviam Indians. Decked out in a faux deerskin shirt, grass skirt, shell necklace and a headdress adorned with traditional feathers and beads, Madonna demonstrated to her audience how the Indians made clothing out of rabbit fur using a tule, a plant native to the valley, as a needle.

"I liked to learn about the clothing, because I like to be kind of fashionable," Connors said. "So I liked learning how they wore traditional and religious clothing."

Wearing a glamorous, white skating outfit complete with faux diamond tiara - but with ballet slippers instead of ice skates - Emily Mansour told guests about movie making in the Santa Clarita Valley and her favorite actress, Michelle Trachtenberg, star of the movie "Ice Princess."

"My teacher let me pick who I wanted to be, so I picked her because I like her a lot and she's, like, really pretty and she's my favorite actress," she said.

Judy Whitmire's students studied prominent Santa Clarita Valley people past and present, with students dressing up as the people they researched. Students who studied current valley leaders, like Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth and Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, actually conducted interviews with
the people they portrayed.

One of Whitmire's students met with Dean Gallion, a 70-year-old Castaic resident who had owned a store in the area.
"Mr. Gallion had lots of good stories about just how much the valley has grown," Whitmire said.

Whitmire's students, Sydney Brass and Erin Meottel, were dressed as Scott and Ruth Newhall, former owners of The Signal. Sydney held a Signal newspaper in one hand and a microphone in the other as she spoke to the audience, and Erin wore accessories that were once owned by Ruth Newhall.

"We went to A Chorus Line, and Ruth Newhall's (daughter-in-law) owns it, and they're loaning us her actual hat and purse," Erin said.

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