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Girl Scouts Give Thomas Jefferson Elementary School a Tune-Up

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Girl Scouts from Troop 1326 pose with Councilman Tom Diana, Supervisor Ilan Gilbert, music teacher Charles Rhyner, TJES Principal Dr. Karen Gagliardi, and troop leader Jennie Sunshine. Credits: Brian Marschhauser
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Girl Scouts cut the ribbon on the refurbished music wing. Credits: Brian Marschhauser
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The Scouts worked for months to design the corridor. Credits: Brian Marschhauser
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YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Junior Girl Scouts in Troop 1326 recently earned a Bronze Award by spreading their love of music.

There are seven steps to completing the optional service project, explained troop leader Jennie Sunshine. One of the most challenging steps is finding a worthwhile project the fourth- and fifth-grade girls can complete and from which the community can benefit.

“We are supposed to find a need in the community, somewhere we can make a difference,” Sunshine said.

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One evening, following the troop’s meeting at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School on Gomer Street, the girls walked around to find a special need in their own school. As they looked down an empty hallway near the school’s music room, the troop had its “ah-ha” moment.

“As we came around the corner, we saw that this area was so blank and there are so many other beautiful murals here in our school that we really felt it would be so special to make this a music wing of the school,” Sunshine said. “Not just a classroom, which is beautiful, but a whole wing of the school.”

Over the next few months, the Girl Scouts got to work. Though the Bronze Award is optional, all girls in the troop participated, Sunshine said. They painted designs and the names of some of their favorite musicians.

“We chose to make the hallway outside the music classroom a special place,” Sunshine said. “A place that would bring cheer to students and teachers alike and might help inspire future musicians, singers or performers.”

Charles Rhyner, music teacher at Thomas Jefferson, said he considered himself lucky that Sunshine and her troop chose to do their project outside his classroom.

“This could have happened in any part of the school, but it happened here,” Rhyner said. “[Sunshine] approached me about doing this project and I thought it was a wonderful idea.”

The troop, of course, also had to get permission from school administrators, who happily granted it. Principal Dr. Karen Gagliardi joined the Girl Scouts at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, May 7.

Sunshine said that the final step of achieving the Bronze Award of is to spread the word about their project.

“Just by being here, you are helping us to complete the seventh and last part of the Bronze Award, as we share our hard work and art and music and joy with you,” Sunshine said at the ribbon-cutting.

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