Students treated to concert

Students at George Ward Elementary School exhibiting good character were rewarded with a country and bluegrass music show Friday by Johnny Cochran & the Trailblazers.

“We chose Johnny Cochran & the Trailblazers as the reward because they play country and bluegrass music,” said George Ward Elementary School counselor Mark Allen. “Bluegrass has its beginnings in Appalachia, and we wanted to combine history and learning in this reward. Some of the band members spoke with students prior to the show. We thought this a good event because students get to see a live performance and learn.”

The event, sponsored by Mike Ross Inc., included a 90-minute show and three breakout groups where students talked with band members Cochran and Mark Hamrick about the history of West Virginia music and their instruments. Cochran plays fiddle and Hamrick plays guitar.

Frances McLaughlin, principal at George Ward Elementary, said she was pleased to offer this event to the students.

“We have a Character Counts Program for TRRFCC kids,” McLaughlin said. “Our terrific kids learn about being trustworthy, responsible, respectful, fair, caring and citizenship. We expect them to be good, even when no one is watching.”

McLaughlin said students earn “pup bucks” for displaying good behavior, and admission to the concert was 25 “pup bucks.”

“We begin each day learning about good character,” McLaughlin said. “We have an event every month, and larger rewards like this one each semester. Some of these events are after school.”

Ishah Franks, singer with Johnny Cochran & the Trailblazers, said the performance is important for kids.

“The students will be exposed to a variety of music,” Franks said. “If they have a musical background, they will learn new things. This is a fun event and we hope they will find the music interesting. The kids look so cute and ready to have a good time.”

Cochran said he enjoys working with the students.

“We do this for the kids,” Cochran said. “It has been a fun day.”