Honoring Men of Color EWCS Celebration

Sonnesyn Elementary School will host an Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song celebration honoring three community elders in their gym on Thursday, February 5, 2015, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM.   Featuring  4th grade students with Larry Long, plus ‘the first lady of song’ Debbie Duncan and ‘pianist’ Sam Reeves.  Address: 3421 Boone Avenue North, New Hope, MN 55427.  This year’s theme is ‘Honoring Men of Color’ and we are happy to shine a light on their life achievements.

 Elder Wisdom, Children’s Song™ is brought to you by Community Celebration of Place (501-C-3) in partnership with Robbinsdale Area Schools and the West Metro Education Program (WMEP).

Larry Long, Smithsonian Folkways Recording Artist and creator of Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song, has been working with 4th grade classes of Sarah Rodriguez, Jacqueline Ballot and Deb Petersen to collectively write songs that honor the life stories of the following community elders:

  • Michael Favor: Born in Athens, Georgia during the Civil Rights Movement. Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011. Graduated with a degree in Sociology, Social Work, and Coaching.  Received his Masters Degree from Hamline University.  Doctoral Degree is progress.  Assistant Superintendent of the Robbinsdale School District.
  • Beni Persaud: Born in Guyana, South America. Worked as a child on the sugar plantations with his mother following his father’s death when he was seven years of age. After serving in the British Army he moved to Minnesota. Attended Dunwoody Institute. Married and has three daughters and one son. Retired from the railroad.
  • Samuel Wagner Cooke: Born in the Republic of Liberia, West Africa. Graduated with a Secondary Education Degree. Served as Research Director and Secretary General for the National Teachers Association. Elected to the West African Examinations Council, which develops policies for the five English speaking member-countries in West Africa; Liberia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Gambia, and Nigeria. Moved to Minnesota in 1998, where he received a Masters degree. Presently works for the Robbinsdale School District.


Sonnesyn’s Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song celebration on February 5, 2015 will feature 4th grade students with Larry Long, plus ‘the first lady of song’ Debbie Duncan and ‘stellar pianist’ Sam Reeves.