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Students gather around a century of history

One hundred reasons to celebrate

Posted: February 2, 2009 10:08 p.m.
Updated: February 3, 2009 4:55 a.m.

One-hundred-year-old Alhambra resident Elsie Gound reads to Theresa Aragon's kindergarten class Monday morning in celebration of the 100th day of school. Gound spoke to two kindergarten classes at Bouquet Canyon Elementary School about growing up in Iowa.

Kindergarten students celebrated the number 100 on Monday by hosting a woman who personally witnessed a century of American history.

Hundred-year-old Elsie Gound visited Theresa Aragon's kindergarten classroom at Bouquet Canyon School to help students celebrate their 100th day of the 2008-09 school year.

More than 40 kindergarten students, sporting colorful card stock "Hooray for the 100th day!" crowns, gathered around Gound as she shared stories from her childhood in the early 1900s.

Born on Jan. 16, 1909, Gound grew up on a farm in Iowa without electricity or a central heating system.

"I lived in the country," she said. "We had a big stove in the middle of the living room for heat. When it would snow my grandfather would hitch up the sleigh and take us to (our) big red school."

Her classroom wasn't anything like the kids' kindergarten classroom.

Kindergarten classes weren't offered and school officials arranged the classes to combine first- and second-grade students, third- and fourth-graders, fifth- and sixth-graders, and seventh- and eighth-graders, she said.

"I don't know how I ever learned but I did," she said.

Gounds spent a lot of her youth playing tag, singing songs and jumping rope, since her family did not have television or any electronics, she said.

But she did not spend all of her time having fun, she told the kindergartners.

"Sometimes I wanted to play after school and my mom would say, ‘don't you know you have chores to be done?'" she said. "The chores were usually (a job) like raking leaves."

The kindergartners asked Gound what it was like to be 100 years old and presented her with a book of drawings showing what they could do if they turned 100.

Gound accepted the book with enthusiasm.

"I love little children," she said.

Gound's visit was educating for the kids, Principal Paul Martinsen said.

"It's an experience for the kids to see someone who's 100 years old and it's interesting to see their faces when she talked about not having electricity," he said.

Gound's visit followed the kids' 100th-day activities.

Kindergartners participated in craft projects, making crowns decorated with 10 pipe cleaners each strung with 10 Fruit Loops and glasses styled out of the number 100.

During snack time, the students counted out 10 pieces of 10 different types of snacks, which they poured into a bag to enjoy.

"It was fun because we got to have 100 snacks," Kindergartner Gianni Gambardelli said.

The kid's counting exercises extended to recess when the students jumped 100 times.

The kids looked forward to celebrating the 100th-day of school all year, and Gound's visit only added to the festivities, Aragon said.

"(Since) it was the 100th day of school and the kids are learning how to count to 100, the fact that she is 100 years old was very special," she said.


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