Charlotte Avenue lights the torch for field day

NASHUA – When fifth-grader Darius Smith was named as the student chosen to light the Olympic torch, the koalas, salsa dancers, mustachioed boys, Robin Hoods and all the other Charlotte Avenue Elementary School students went wild, exploding in a cacophony of clapping and cheering.

Charlotte Avenue students and staff celebrated the start of their Olympic-themed field day with a parade of nations with each class representing a different country, a formal torch “lighting” and a rousing schoolwide rendition of “We Go For the Gold.”

Smith was nominated to light the giant torch by his peers for being thoughtful, optimistic, reliable, considerate and honorable.

The students also gave three cheers for retiring gym teacher Al Rivard after 30 years. They also recognized Melanie Paul, retiring music teacher, who has been there for 16.

Both Paul and Rivard said retirement was “bittersweet” and that they love the students and “wonderful community” at the school.

They both celebrated their final field day celebration Friday with games throughout the day and a special traditional Scottish “Morris dance” for the fifth-graders, which Rivard started when he introduced the schools first themed field day 25 years ago.