By Crystal Thompson
KG Elementary's annual Spring Concert was extra special this year, as students young and old paid tribute to two of the school's long-time employees, who are retiring this month.
Kindergarten teacher Fern Larson and Head Cook Elsie Werbelow have both decided to retire after twenty-plus years of service at KG Elementary. The Spring Concert was dedicated to the years of hard work the two ladies have given countless KG students.
The concert began with grades K-2 performing "The Siamese Cat Song" from the Walt Disney movie "Lady and the Tramp". The kindergartners completed the performance by reciting several nursery rhymes, followed by a skit from the KG junior high students. The third and fourth grades performed a medley of songs from "The Sound of Music" and the fifth and sixth grade students sang "Wind Beneath My Wings". A book of "favorite food" memories from KG High School students was presented to Werbelow as well.
Werbelow began working as assistant cook for KG Elementary in 1973, under June Johnson. After Johnson's retirement, Werbelow took over as Head Cook in 1978. Werbelow is well known by KG students past and present for her delicious cooking, and her heart-warming personality. Several students said that the thing they will miss most about Elsie, besides her wonderful food, is the daily hug she gives to every lunch student.
Fern Larson began her teaching career in 1970 at Rocky Boy Public Schools, transferring to Joplin Public Schools in 1971. In the fall of 1976, Larson began teaching the Kindergarten class at KG Public Schools, and has remained there since that time. Larson is known for her ability to teach the fundamentals of academics to five and six-year-olds, while maintaining undying patience. Larson is best remembered by her students as being the teacher of numerous nursery rhymes.
Werbelow and Larson were present at the concert with their families and friends, and each gave a brief message of thanks to the communities of Kremlin and Gildford. Tears were seen in the eyes of many as the two were presented with plaques by Dave Stevenson, Chairman of KG Board of Trustees. Werbelow and Larson received a standing ovation from the audience as they exchanged hugs and words of thanks.
The celebration concluded with a group performance of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from the movie "The Wizard of Oz", with the audience joining in on the second verse. Both Werbelow and Larson will continue to live in the Kremlin area after their retirement.