Mary Beckstrom: Making music and memories at Laurel School
As the school year winds down, many kids, parents, and teachers are looking forward to the slower pace of summer. But for Laurel School’s beloved music enrichment teacher, Mary Beckstrom, it’s all about the Spring Fling. The outdoor sing-along and picnic for students and their families has been a tradition as long as Mary can remember—she has fond memories of it when her own children attended the school.
The Menlo Park resident made the move from Laurel parent to music specialist and classroom aide when her youngest daughter Casey was a first-grader. The principal at the time asked if she’d consider the position, as she had previously worked at Laurel before her daughter was born. Mary wasn’t sure about returning but recalls, “I told him I’d do it until they found someone else—that was 23 years ago! And now I can’t imagine leaving.”
This year’s Spring Fling is set for Friday evening, May 21, on the school field. With the big day fast approaching, Laurel’s enthusiastic performers are enjoying their final rehearsals with Mary, often accompanied by her guitar or a squirrel mascot hand puppet.
Parents get ready: You’ll be asked to sing along to the John Denver classic, Take Me Home, Country Roads, which the kids have mastered while delving deeper in to the lyrics through a charming Denver-penned storybook.
The highlight of the evening, however, is always I’m Nuts about Laurel, which features a special verse for each grade level. The big question, of course, is what will happen next year when Laurel adds third grade classes? Will there be a new verse for the older kids? Mary says there’s nothing to worry about. The parent who wrote the original song has already been thinking about it.