United by Our Song: When A Teacher is Inspired
Posted 03/19/2015 08:43AM


Sometimes great ideas come along at the wrong moment only to re-surface later when the time is ripe. This story is about the evolution of a song that began in the heart and mind of first-grade teacher Alicia Cardina. In many ways, its development mirrors the the way we teach - the way we nurture students’ passions and give them the room and resources to take shape.


“I wanted to write a song for us to sing. It just hadn’t happened until the moment was right; the moment happened this fall,” she said. In fact, Alicia’s idea had been on the back-burner percolating for years, when all of the sudden in the middle of a recent professional development workshop in Chicago, it hit her. The speaker had struck the right chord. She starting writing immediately.


When she returned home she sat down at her piano to put notes to words, excited to finally see the song unfold - anticipating bringing it to her Lower School colleagues and students. She then worked with performing arts teacher Jane Corbin to fine-tune the song for young voices, and introduced it to her class, accompanying them on guitar.


The love of the song grew in her class and beyond, and is now an integral part of the monthly Lower School morning meetings, with the voices of 223 children ages 4-11 (ish) and their teachers singing joyfully their common song. Lower School principal Kim Broshar said, “The lower school morning meeting song speaks to everyone in the LS community.  It's about all of us and how we succeed together.  Hearing all of our students, faculty, and staff sing this song together to close one of our morning meetings is really beautiful.”


“I will always have special memories associated with this particular class,” she said. “This is the year the song was written and took on a life of its own - it found its home in our community.”


Alicia Cardina is a first grade teacher in the Lower School and began working at Carolina Day School in 2010. After earning her undergraduate degree in psychology and music at Hamilton College, Alicia went to Lesley University to earn her Master of Elementary Education. She then accepted a teaching position at the Antilles School on St. Thomas, USVI, and taught first and second grade for three years on island. During her teaching career she has received Levels I and II trainings in Responsive Classroom, a week long training at Harvard Project Zero Classroom, and most recently a training in leading Paideia Seminars. She is a site leader for Responsive Classroom, which enables her to share this incredible approach to education with her fellow CDS teachers.


See Alicia’s full faculty profile here. 



"Carolina Day School Song"

 by Alicia Cardina


Here we are together, united by our song.

At Carolina Day, a place we all belong.



We are here to learn and here to teach,

Here to laugh and here to believe

in you,  in me, we can succeed!


By taking risks and seeing how 

our differences can allow,

each of us to share our part,

Expand our minds and fill our hearts!

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