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Vidalia students portray famous Americans during program

Vidalia Lower Elementary School second-grade students wait for their turn to present during the Famous Americans program at Vidalia Junior High School. Each of the students chose Americans from the past and present and had to give several sentences explaining the person’s achievements. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Vidalia Lower Elementary School second-grade students wait for their turn to present during the Famous Americans program at Vidalia Junior High School. Each of the students chose Americans from the past and present and had to give several sentences explaining the person’s achievements. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Vidalia — Nerves did not win the day as Vidalia Lower Elementary School second-grade students took the stage for their annual Famous Americans program.

Especially for Kaiser Edens, who walked to center stage wearing the costume of Edgar Allan Poe, complete with a drawn on mustache and bushy eyebrows.

“I was nervous, but I was even more excited,” he said.

Once he reached the microphone, Edens flawlessly delivered some facts about the life of the great American author and poet.

Kaiser Edens gives his presentation on Edgar Allan Poe. He was excited to do the famous American author and poet because he likes scary movies. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Kaiser Edens gives his presentation on Edgar Allan Poe. He was excited to do the famous American author and poet because he likes scary movies. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Once completed, Edens hid his excitement by smiling and walking off the stage making way for his next classmate.

“The whole thing was my favorite,” Edens said.

The presentation may have just taken up a fraction of a minute, but there was much more preparation than that.

“We have been practicing for weeks,” said second-grade teacher Amanda Beard. “Most of these students had never been in front of a crowd before. There were probably 300 people here, so we had to make sure they were ready.”

That included weeks of research and learning about each of the student’s Americans that they were to portray. Then once the students have learned about their subject, they have to craft their own speech

“That doesn’t even include the preparation that some parents took with their children’s costumes,” Beard said.

For Edens’ mother, Destiny Butts, and great-aunt Lena Guthrie, they wanted Edens to shine.

“We wanted him to have one of the best costumes out there,” Butts said.

Along with the aforementioned facial hair, Edens also wore a pinstripe overcoat that was originally made for someone much larger than Edens’ four-foot nothing frame.

“His aunt brought the sleeves of the suit jacket up along with the bottom of it,” Butts said. “She also made his little ascot.”

All the preparation came together, and when it was Edens’ turn, he was ready.

Beard is always happy when the program is over, not because it is a stressful time of the year, but because she is always so impressed with her students.

“It never stops amazing me how students break out of their shells,” she said. “The students that you expect to be most nervous usually rock it.”

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