The Darlington School’s preschool class put on their annual spring play this year, with a few minor adjustments for the coronavirus outbreak.
Teacher Beth Smith wrote the play “Oh Rome, Georgia, You Are the Place for Me!” herself several years ago and makes it a tradition for her “smarties” to put on the performance at the end of each school year. The play is usually attended by members of the Rome City and Floyd County commissions, the office of tourism and the visitors bureau, as well as local historians.
“There’s a song about naming Rome, a song about the three rivers,” Smith said. “They’re all just original songs I had made up to go with the history of Rome.”
Leading up to the performance, Smith usually takes her students on field trips all around Rome — visiting sites such as Clocktower Hill, Myrtle Hill Cemetery, Rome Area History Museum and the confluence of the three rivers. While there, the kids learn the history of Rome.
“The kids, and the parents, too, learn so much about Rome because so many of them haven’t explored,” she said.
Since the school switched to online learning back in mid-March, Smith went ahead and visited all of the usual historical sites and made videos in which she talks about each one.
“It’s really fun to teach the history of Rome because I’m a seventh generation Roman, so my family has been here for a very long time and I just love it,” she said.
Smith then taught her class the lines and songs featured in the play, as well as sent them the necessary props and costumes. The parents then recorded the kids’ performances and sent them to Smith, who pieced it all together.
Since it was posted Monday on the Darlington Facebook page, the video had been viewed over 2,300 times, with 15 shares, as of Wednesday afternoon.
The entire class also got the chance to reunite to watch the play on the big screen on the Darlington football field Friday. While there, the students also painted Clocktower Hill on plates.
Smith said she’s found that her students really absorb the history from the play. She recently received a video from a parent of one of her students teaching his family about the confluence of the rivers.
“That’s just really fun to see that they really get it, and they seem to enjoy the town more because of knowing a little bit about the backstory of it all,” she said.