Wednesday, January 16, 2019
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20181212 Ranchero Village Pageant PR 5109Christmas is best when it's shared with others. There’s a lot of sharing at Ranchero Village Resort in Weslaco.

For the past five years, children from both Margo and Memorial elementary schools have performed a Christmas show for the residents of Ranchero as a way of showing their appreciation for all that the residents do for the children – both at Christmas and throughout the year.
“I don't know exactly how it started,” said Jan Murphy, a Ranchero Village resident for the past 17 years and native of Grand Rapids, Mich. “I remember talking to someone and seeing the kids perform at school and asked if they would take kids to the park and one thing led to another and there it is. Now they come and we have so much fun. After all, we are away from all our grandkids.”

Kindergarten through third-grade students from Margo Elementary lined up on boosters that they brought specifically for the show and each class sang three traditional Christmas songs, often encouraging those in attendance to sing along. The audience was more than willing to participate.

Memorial Elementary followed with a floor show. The kinder children played the music and the others danced with the director showing the way. The next group of children were decked out as toy soldiers, marching and dancing to the March of the Toy Soldiers.

“That was awesome. The boys dressed up and the girls in their rhinestone dresses and the dancers wearing their tutus.” Murphy said. “Every year our audience grows and they get excited to see these kids and their performances. And the kids love coming – especially for the punch and cookies but to sing and dance too.”

20181212 Ranchero Village Pageant PR 3628Murphy said at first the show didn't seem to draw a lot of interest, but word of mouth spreads fast and each year the excitement builds and more people attend.

“The kids are cute and the parents will come and watch the children – they actually asked if they could come – absolutely,” Murphy said. “We'll make coffee for the adults and it's joyful to watch the kids having cookies – even though they'd love a dozen, they get two each or else they'd be on a sugar rush the rest of the day. It's a fun morning.

“I have three grandchildren and my husband has six and mine are all adults and it makes me remember going to their Sunday school and watching them sing and dance. We don't go home for Christmas, but they remind us of home.”

Rosie Arriaga, parent specialist at Margo Elementary, said the strong relationship isn't a chance happenstance. For years, she said, many of the residents have either donated things for the school children or come by to read, some two to three hours per day. Many do both.

“They'll come and read to our first- and second-graders,” Arriaga said. “It's a one-on-one program and it's amazing that the children they read to improve their reading levels. They have joined in our programs and different activities and they donate so much – from things for hygiene to school supplies.”

Santa Claus has also been visiting from Ranchero Village (not the North Pole) for what Arriaga estimates as the past 15 years. Santa will even show up twice – once to give out presents the day school ends and once to have pictures taken with ole' St. Nick.

“They also donate so many Christmas gifts and take them to families after school is out,” Arriaga said. “I always say that's what the schools are there for, to partner with the community and for the community to partner with the schools. It's a perfect relationship. I can't say enough about what Ranchero Village does for us as well as a couple other parks nearby. Our kids then go sing their hearts out in gratitude for how much they've been given.
“It just speaks volumes about our community and there community. It's a wonderful thing.”

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