How did Hope of America begin?
Hope of America was created by Kathy McDonald in 1995 with the support of America’s Freedom Festival in Provo. Over the last 27 years, it was directed first by Kathy then later by Sherry Anderson. Each year 6,000 to 8,000 school children from more than 100 schools come together in the Marriott Center over three days to present songs of hope, patriotism, and service.
What grade is Hope of America designed for?
The songs in the Hope of America program correlate with the 5th grade state core curriculum in American history, so the majority of our participants are fifth graders in Utah County. We also invite upper elementary 4th through 6th grade students from local charter, private, and home schools to join us.
What is the cost of participation in the Hope of America?
For schools: Once a school registers they may access all of the recordings and teaching videos at no cost. We also provide copies of the lyrics. In May, a morning rehearsal is held in the Marriott Center. Schools cover the cost of transportation to BYU. Schools also provide an 8” x 12” flag for each student and teacher.
For students: The cost of Hope of America has been $10 for many years. Registration is paid online by individual parents directly to the Hope of America organization. This includes a Hope of America tee shirt for the child. Parents will have digital access to a recording of the performance and a group photo on the Hope of America website. A portion of each registration helps pay for production costs, facility use, traffic officers, and ushers/security. Students will need to bring a flashlight and a pair of sunglasses.
Accommodations: We want ALL students to be able to participate in this amazing experience! Often a principal has resources which can be used to help cover students’ registrations. Each year through our website, generous parents donate toward the registration of an additional child or two. These funds can help cover the registration for families for whom $10 is a hardship. Certain grants that your school may have could also be used. Please ask! Let us help you to find the financial resources to allow for EVERY child who wants to participate to do so!
Who teaches the Hope of America songs?
In many schools, teachers on a team take turns working with the whole grade level group of students. While one teaches, others monitor and assist. In other schools, a music specialty teacher teaches the songs and the classroom teachers support the learning by practicing a song or two each day using a few minutes before recess or after social studies. A few groups have a before or after school choir program where a teacher or parent volunteer works with self-selected students. The recordings, videos, and handouts make teaching the songs and actions easy!
Besides the program in May, how else can Hope of America songs be used?
Some schools use songs like “Thank you Military” or “American Heroes” for their school’s Veterans Day assembly, featuring their sixth graders who learned the songs as fifth graders. Others use “Founding Fathers” for Constitution Day celebrations in September. Hope of America songs are great to feature in grade level events like history fairs or colonial day celebrations. And of course many schools treat their whole school to a Hope of America preview program in a schoolwide assembly in April or May.
When should we get started teaching Hope of America?
For now, just fill in the School Registration and Preference Form. Once you hear from us in October, you can order your buses and start to get information to your students and their parents. The Hope of America Timeline will provide all the information of when things will/should happen. Schools typically start practicing by the beginning of February.