Arts and Entertainment

Video: North Star Elementary choir showcases the diversity of Alaska

Anchorage schools have been touted as some of the most diverse in the country and North Star Elementary is counted among them. With a diversity score of 0.86, North Star Elementary is one of the most diverse public schools in Alaska, as stated on Public School Review website. North Star's choir The Singing Stars includes some of the many ethnic groups living in Alaska. The choir, run by special education and music teacher Anna Bondarenko, includes students of Asian, Alaska Native, African, Samoan, Filipino and European descent. Bondarenko, who was trained at a music conservatory in Russia, formed the music group three years ago. It started with nine students and has grown to over 70.

According to Bondarenko, the music is not only enriching her students' lives, it is improving their academics. "There's lots of research that shows that when you ... sing, you play an instrument, you involve your entire brain," says Bondarenko. "So it benefits them throughout the day in their academic life and social-emotional [life]." Bondarenko stresses to her students that playing music helps them with life skills, such as speaking in public. "To share their cultures and be able to perform in front of everybody is a great skill."

The group performed March 24, 2016, at the 5th Avenue Mall in downtown Anchorage as part of Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM), a month-long celebration of music in schools across the country.

Tara Young

Tara Young was a video journalist for ADN.