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Kids travel country without leaving class

Above, from left, Darren Cowie, 5, as Barry

Above, from left, Darren Cowie, 5, as Barry Gordy, poses with Isabella McLean Turner, 5, Katherine Galeano, 5, and Yerolin Viloafana, 6, all dressed as The Supremes, and, in the background, kindergarten teacher Angela Abrams, who is dressed as Diana Ross. (May 26, 2011) Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Special appearances by The Supremes and The Temptations highlighted Thursday’s “America the Beautiful” event at the Hempstead school district’s Early Childhood Center.

Well, sort of.

Kindergartners played the roles of Detroit’s finest, from Motown Records legends to the founder of Kellogg’s. Visitors walking from room to room were given a mini-road trip across the United States, with the students portraying residents of different states.

Since last September they’ve been brushing up on state histories as a part of the school’s applied learning program.

In “New York,” students who had limited English-speaking skills in September rapped a Hempstead version of Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.” In the doorway to "New Mexico," Ayanna Concepcion and Angel Enriquez greeted passersby with factoids about the state.

“Georgia O'Keeffe is a New Mexico artist, she painted pictures of New Mexico land,” Ayanna, 6, read from her project on the hallway wall.

“In New Mexico you hang chili pepper by the door to welcome guests,” added Angel, 5.

“We were able to learn about the state flower, what was the state mascot, about different songs, different ecosystems that you’d find,” said Richard Brown, the center’s principal. “Our children need to have fun and interact, and that’s what kindergarten education is all about.”

Above, from left, Darren Cowie, 5, as Barry Gordy, poses with Isabella McLean Turner, 5, Katherine Galeano, 5, and Yerolin Viloafana, 6, all dressed as The Supremes, and, in the background, kindergarten teacher Angela Abrams, who is dressed as Diana Ross. (May 26, 2011)

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