Good times never seemed so good at Hackett Elementary School in Beloit.
This year, Tom Johnson, Hackett’s new principal, has started “Neil Diamond Day.” On Fridays during the school’s closed-circuit tv morning show, he plays Neil Diamond music and gives one class a Neil Diamond teddy bear as a traveling trophy.
“They know they get it for a week they take a picture with it and that means that good things are happening and it gets kids excited about learning and that’s what we’re aiming for,” explained Johnson.
Johnson has always been a Neil Diamond fan and got the idea for the special day over the summer.
“Been to a few Neil Diamond concerts, and this summer I was at one and I saw this stuffed bear and it was kind of an “Ah-hah” moment, that this could be an incentive for the kids and a travelling trophy so to speak,” said Johnson.
Neil Diamond Day has helped improve performance and behavior at the school. Last year at this time, over twenty-five student had been suspended. This year there have only been three.
Some of the faculty were so impressed with the idea’s success, they decided to write to Neil Diamond and tell him about it. Diamond then sent two care packages to the school containing posters, calendars, buttons, CDs, a piano music book, and autographed pictures.
Johnson said he was impressed with Diamond’s largess, and with the success his music is having among the elementary students.
Johnson explained “We knew the bear would go over well. We weren’t sure about Neil Diamond, but it’s been great. You have five-year-olds and six-year-olds saying I love that beautiful noise song.”