THOMASVILLE — Staff report
Students from the Thomas County Upper Elementary Fifth Grade MERIT team recently traveled to Plains, to attend the performance of Eleanor Roosevelt: Godmother to the World.
As a part of the Women in History Project at the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site the program was provided free of charge to area schools. This program is a one-woman portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt’s life and evolution from ugly duckling and neglected child into one of the 10 most influential people of the twentieth century, designed to coordinate with the fifth grade social studies curriculum.
Using authentic slides as a backdrop, and 15 fifth graders to play figures in Roosevelt’s life and reporters at her press conferences as First Lady, she comes to life from childhood, through her period as the most controversial first lady and as Human Rights Ambassador to the United Nations, using her own words for speeches she gave, radio broadcasts, and examples from her My Day newspaper column. Known as the godmother to the world, Roosevelt’s words of wisdom ring true as she says, “You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.” Students were given an authentic quote, words of wisdom from Roosevelt to take with them as they leave.
The program was written and performed by Cathy Kaemmerlen, a performer and “creator of shows” since she can remember, she has toured in schools coast to coast, since receiving a bachelor of arts in English/elementary education from UNC-Charlotte, and a master in fine arts in dance performance/ choreography/theatre at the University of Wisconsin. She tours through Young Audiences of Atlanta, the Georgia Touring Arts Roster, and the Teaching Museum North.
Prior to the performance students completed a scavenger hunt of the city of Plains with a concentration on how a small south Georgia town might have looked in the year 1937. Following the performance the students toured the Jimmy Carter boyhood farm to get a visual of south Georgia life on a small family farm in 1937.
The tour included games that would have played by children of the era, completing farming chores that children would have completed and a tour of the 1937 General Store owned by the Carter family in Archer.