Keifer Reinhart stood next to his classmates and belted out “Home Means Nevada” on the footsteps of City Hall as the students of Grace Christian Academy celebrated the state’s 150th birthday the morning of Oct. 30.
“It’s home to all my friends and family,” said Reinhart, a fifth-grader at the academy.
Grace and Olivia Carnes, sisters who also attend the academy, said they don’t want to live anywhere else.
As part of an attempt to establish a world record for the most people in a state to sing their state song at once, the academy’s 32 students were joined by city officials and a few other residents as they bellowed out the tune.
Deputy City Clerk Tami McKay received an email about the statewide sing-along celebration known as Nevada Sings! and passed it on to the academy in an attempt to get more people in town to participate. Groups from across the state recorded videos of themselves singing the state song at 10 a.m. and sent it to Record Setters, the entity in charge of the world record.
Grace Christian Academy Principal Marcia Harhay said her students spent a few days working on the second verse of the song. The first verse was no problem.
“It is special to us because at our school we’ve always celebrated Nevada Day,” she said. “We would practice at school, and when they sang it just came from the heart. And for them, home means Nevada. They are very proud to be Nevadans.”
Harhay has lived in Nevada for 32 years. Originally from Ohio, she’s called Boulder City home since the early 1980s.
“A few years after we moved here, our boys enjoyed the lake and Mount Charleston and the warmer winters so much that they actually thanked my husband and I for relocating our family here,” she said.
Though McKay moved to Boulder City in the first grade, she considers herself a native Nevadan. For her, the landscape and the connection with the people she’s surrounded by separate Nevada from everywhere else she’s been.
“Nevada has the most beautiful mountains, and I love the people here,” she said. “I just think everyone seems to get together here and want to do the best things for the state.”
Along with the students of Grace Christian, members of the City Council, and other department heads, McKay sang the song of the state she’s called home since she was a child.
Harhay said she has emphasized the importance of teaching Nevada’s history to her students. On Friday, all of them dressed as old miners and participated in a simulated gold and silver rush to help them gain a hands-on experience of Nevada’s history early.
She hopes some of her students will one day want to engage in civic leadership after gaining an appreciation for the state they live in.
“It is their state,” she said. “I also think that with voting, we can make them aware of their state, and their state’s place in the nation. I really think that’s helped them to become better citizens, not only of their city but their state and country.”
Contact reporter Steven Slivka at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9401. Follow @StevenSlivka on Twitter.