Fourth Focus

Scott Swanson

Elspeth Liermann stands in her first-grade classroom at Hawthorne School.

The lights are dimmed, and she’s surrounded by kids, all reading – “Star Wars” stories.

It’s Tuesday, May 4, and it’s Hawhorne’s annual “May the Fourth Be with You” celebration.

Liermann, who’s taught at Hawthorne since 2012, has gone all out, since she’s already a “Star Wars” buff.

She worked on decorating her classroom till 8:30 p.m. on Monday night and was back at 5:30 Tuesday morning.

“I think this is, like, our seventh year of May the Fourth parties,” she said, noting that the event started out as an Accelerated Reader program. “Now it’s turned into just celebrating all the hard work they’ve done. We’ve been through online school, hybrid school and finally we’re back together. So today we’re just celebrating the kids and all their accomplishments. All the teachers are doing this.”

All, however, have not strewn their entire classroom with gold star balloons, stuffed “Star Wars” figures, posters and other paraphernalia, which spill out onto the walls of the hallway. Nearly every available inch of space is occupied by some form of Star Wars memento.

“This is my new level of crazy,” Liermann said, chuckling. “It’s just so fun. It’s something that the kids love, especially now, with the new “Mandalorian” (Star Wars television series). It’s just fun to celebrate them and give them fun things to do and we do a little special reading.”

She said she would be presenting gifts and prizes later.

Most, she said, are already familiar with Star Wars and it was a topic, particularly, when classes were conducted via Zoom.

“They would show me all their Baby Yodas at home, so I knew they were into it,” she said.

Liermann said students weren’t let in till 8 a.m. on the Fourth, so they got the full effect all at once.

“We have the music blasting and they just come in and their eyes light up because every surface is covered with Star Wars stuff.”