River Trail students come up with school song

With an emphasis on community, staff of River Trail Learning Center (RTLC) at L.O. Jacob thought it was time for students to have a school song.

Stasha Erickson (left) and Veronica Jacobson (right) performed River Trail Learning Center's new school song at the Art, Academic, and Variety Show. They were backed up on drums by student Brennan Hansen. Submitted photo

Stasha Erickson (left) and Veronica Jacobson (right) performed River Trail Learning Center’s new school song at the Art, Academic, and Variety Show. They were backed up on drums by student Brennan Hansen. Submitted photo

RTLC is a special education setting for kindergarten through 12th-grade students with significant emotional and behavioral needs.

Veronica Jacobson, a RTLC teacher, worked within her four first trimester classes to create versions of a school song based on information including the school’s mission statement (at that time “Learn, Grow, Achieve”) and school mascot, the buffalo.

This was a great exercise for students to work was a collaborative team and to understand their school, according to Jacobson.

“The students had to discuss what the mission statement meant, what our belief statement meant, how our belief in restitution is part of the community and how our mascot came to be,” Jacobson said.

“Then they had to work with rhyming and creating lyrics that they could agree on and then set to music.

“At times, the process came to creative differences that had to be worked out, allowing for students to practice the conflict resolution skills related to restitution.”

In conjunction with the November 2011 election, the four songs were played on the school’s intercom and students were asked to vote for their favorite song.

The song that won, which currently uses the beat to “We Will Rock You” has the following lyrics:

We are the buffalo and we believe

RTLC Learn, Grow, Achieve

We are the buffalo and we believe

Loyalty, strength and resiliency

RTLC Buffalo

RTLC Buffalo

All this work my fingers are burnin’

I’m in class getting smart and I’m learnin’

Try our best and give a hundred percent

All this time is well spent

RTLC Buffalo

RTLC Buffalo

Mistakes are things that we all make

Learn, Grow, and Evaluate

All you do is you work and believe

Soon you become an employee

RTLC Buffalo

RTLC Buffalo

“I was able to work with a nice cross section of students to create each of the songs and all had their own merits,” Jacobson said.

“There may be some changes in the near future to incorporate different parts of the other songs as together they will create a more overall portrait of our school community.”

The school song debuted for families at the RTLC Art, Academic and Variety Show May 17.

Through the exercise, Jacobson said she hopes students are able to identify with their school community and show pride in being a part of the community they come from.

“By working to instill pride in being part of the ‘buffalo community’,” Jacobson said, “students learn to face adversity head on instead of running away or avoiding it and being able to regain some sense of control over their circumstances as they continue through their life’s journey.”

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