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Stories to Song

The week of January 10-14, we were pleased to host an artist-in-residence to conduct an exciting program called “Stories to Song” in which area students interviewed local “community elders” and through the course of the week, wrote and performed an original song inspired by the elder’s stories.

We partnered with Hoxie High School English Teacher Mrs. Peggy Eland  to conduct the program with each of her six English sections participating. The artist-in-residence, Aaron Fowler, of Wichita, facilitated the program at the high school. Fowler, through the nonprofit organization, Sing It Out, INC, travels across the nation conducting this program in rural communities each year.

Stories to Songs is a powerful oral history project that engages elders in rural communities with middle and high school students in a process called collective songwriting. The process involves students interviewing elders and then writing songs based on those elders’ stories. The project develops critical thinking and learning skills and engages students in a community building experience that develops deep community bonds. It enhances student learning, addresses problem solving skills through the arts and nurtures creativity and culture awareness through a powerful learning experience. Elders are valued and given an opportunity to meet and share with students, in a relaxed setting, important memories in their life.

Six community elders were interviewed by Mrs. Eland’s English classes, including Harry Joe Pratt, Linda Frazey, Ruth Pieschl, David Leopold, Ed Heim, and Marcella “Sally” Cameron, all of Hoxie.

During the week, the students learned the mechanics of songwriting, including the poetry and writing structures of lyrics as well as the musical composition components, culiminating in a public performance of their original compositions inspired by the stories shared by their respective community elder.

The program was made possible in part through a grant by the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, a sub-entity of the Kansas Department of Commerce, as well as a $500 grant from our local Sheridan County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Greater Northwest Kansas Community Foundation, Bird City.

Stories to song presentation

Stand Tall and Proud

Inspired by Harry Joe Pratt, Hoxie, Kansas
Aaron Fowler & 1st hour Sophomore English class
© January 13, 2022, Roomdad Productions


Proud of his community, proud of his town. Negative voices, don’t let ‘em get you down.

Proud of his farm, proud of his land. You can do your part, you can lend a hand.


Stand tall and proud in everything you do

Let your glory shine

Live confident and satisfied

Let your little light shine

He has four kids all of them unique. A proud father they make him complete.

They all have achieved many great things. Family pride for them is everything.

Discipline and hard work are what he does each day. Worked on a farm, loved to go and play.

In everything he did, he did it with pride.
Never let the world break his stride.

Strong Foundations

Inspired by Ed Heim, Hoxie, Kansas
Aaron Fowler & 6th hour College Prep class
© January 13, 2022, Roomdad Productions


How has it been over 40 years. With my best friend caring till the end

4 of our own, we have built this home. On love alone and till I catch up, I’ll

Build a strong foundation, build it over time

Built on firm commitments made over a stretch of time

You will see the fruits in your family and your work

A life well lived…takes time

Late to bed early to rise. Always stay humble and always be kind

Hard work is how life gets done. We build this path so the race can be won

Starting with no real plan. Let the wind carry you back to your roots

With little money responsible for another. Now taking on the legacy life works it’s self out

Proud to be a dad, proud of where I’m from. Life can be chaotic, but it all works out in time

While making a living to make a family grow . Look at the big picture, look how far we’ll go

Set Your Spirit Free

Inspired by Linda Frazey, Hoxie, Kansas
Aaron Fowler & 3rd hour Junior English class
© January 13, 2022, Roomdad Productions


Playing with her sisters every day. Jumping in the barn, playing in the hay

Didn’t need to play with a lot of toys. Cause the barn gave her great joy

Life doesn’t always go as planned

Laugh and love it will be quite grand

The twist and turns we can agree

Can set your spirit free

Life surprised her with a baby boy. Being a mom gave her great joy.

Which taught her how to understand. The students who most couldn’t stand.

Didn’t know she wanted to teach. Then that passion she did meet.

Taught some lesson and made some bonds She loved it from then on.

Come Waltz With Me

Inspired by Ruth Pieschl, Hoxie, Kansas
Aaron Fowler & 4th hour Senior English class
© January 13, 2022, Roomdad Productions


Born at home on the Oklahoma plains, One of nine she’d be

Lived her childhood the best it could be, young, wild, and free

Come feel the freedom of this brand-new day

Fresh cut grass and the new mown hay

Youthful voices and flower bouquets

Waltz with me my love

Loved the outdoors, days would be filled. With rocks she could build

Scoring goals on the basketball court. Her team she would support

Life was simple out on the farm. The animals there, she’d never harm

Cotton white and fresh picked fruit. Is where she planted her roots

Loving people was her gift to us all. Helping others so they wouldn’t fall

We’d like to thank you for all that you’ve done. We would waltz with you under the sun

Keep Moving On

Inspired by David Leopold, Hoxie, Kansas
Aaron Fowler & 5th hour Junior English class
© January 13, 2022, Roomdad Productions


Living in the small town wasn’t much to do

Swimming pools and birthday parties those ideas flew

Keep moving on, keep moving on

Playing games with friends makes for the most fun

You can live a joyful life when you’re kind to everyone

Keep moving on, keep moving on

Live your life unfettered as you walk along the tracks

Find a great adventure where you never will turn back

Keep moving on, keep moving on

Loved the great outdoors, walking down the track

Coming together with all their backpacks

Keep moving on, Keep moving on

Seeing the rolling hills is a beautiful sight

Always moving always going down the track tonight

Keep moving on, keep moving on

When you’re in the mountains on your next big trip

Your family beside you building kinship

Keep moving on, keep moving on

Open up your senses to the silence of the trees

Trees of pine will guide you with the help of summer breeze

Keep moving on, keep moving on

When he was young, he worked at his father’s store

Then he came to realize that he wanted more

Keep moving on, keep moving on

He found another calling and became a mortician

Wasn’t quite enough he was an accountant in addition

Keep moving on, keep moving on

All Gas No Breaks

Inspired by Sally Cameron, Hoxie, Kansas
Aaron Fowler & 7th hour Sophomore English class
© January 13, 2022, Roomdad Productions


Born in a blizzard in ‘52

The snow made a canvas of ice and blue

Ever since she was a little girl

She knew she was a goodie-two-shoes

Living your life at a breakneck speed

Taking in all you can

Never look back and never give in

It’s all out baby, sink or swim.

She went to Japan, a foreign land

With a trombone in her hand

Played in Chicago with her band

She is everything but bland

She is a Catholic girl in a small-town world

Playing piano is what she knew

Now she’s making gowns for all her friends

And her granddaughter too.

Always willing to lend a helping hand

There is nothing that she can’t beat

She’s an amazing friend Ms. Sally Cameron

She is someone you should meet.

Email us:

PO Box 458
Hoxie, KS 67740

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