HURRICANE – “The force” was strong at Hurricane Elementary Wednesday as the school celebrated “May the Fourth” otherwise known as “Star Wars Day,” with students dressing in costume, Star Wars music blasting from the outdoor speakers and a working replica of the famous droid R2-D2.
Students embraced their geekier side, dressing up as little Luke Skywalkers, Princess Leia Organas, Storm Troopers, Yodas, Padmé Amidalas, Chewbaccas, Reys and many more of the seven movies’ beloved characters for the special day designated for fans of the films to proclaim their passion for all things Star Wars.
According to the official “Star Wars Day” website the day’s historical roots date back to 1979 when Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female Prime Minister.
A chronicle of the making of “The Empire Strikes Back” written by author Alan Arnold said this:
Margaret Thatcher has won the election and become Britain’s first woman prime minister. To celebrate their victory her party took a half page of advertising space in the London Evening News. This message, referring to the day of victory, was ‘May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations,’ further proof of the extent to which Star Wars has influenced us all.
The advent of the internet and social media has allowed an easy way for fans of the epic saga to connect, creating a community that has proclaimed the day as “Star Wars Day.” Revelers use the hashtag #StarWarsDay to share their celebrations of the made up holiday.
The holiday was not created by Lucasfilm, but the movies’ parent company, which is now owned by Disney has fully embraced the day, the Star Wars Day website said.
With the seventh movie in the Star Wars saga, “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens,” becoming an unqualified box office hit since its release in December 2015, a whole new generation of Star Wars fans has been introduced to the iconic characters from the 1977, 1980 and 1983 Star Wars episodes IV, V and VI as well as the 1999, 2002 and 2005 prequel episodes I, II and III.
May the Fourth at Hurricane Elementary gave evidence that this new generation has found a love for the new adventures in a “galaxy far, far away.”
Similar to the grass-roots growth of the celebratory day, the school used the internet to announce its plans to pay homage to the films.
The idea to have the school celebrate was a coordinated effort between the school’s principal, Travis Wilstead, and the school’s Title 1 coordinator, Matthew Lowe. The two school leaders came up with the plan Saturday and posted it to the school’s Facebook page Saturday evening.
“Before midnight about 100 people had seen it, texted it and shared it,” Lowe said, “so we were really excited about it and excited to get this thing put together.”
In addition to the kids dressing up, Lowe reached out to his neighbor Alex Chamberlain, who has built a remote controlled robotic replica of Star Wars droid R2-D2 to see if he would bring it to show the students.
Chamberlain said this is his fourth attempt at building an R2-D2. He started building the current one in June of 2014, he said, adding that this is the first version that really looks authentic.
“I joined a group online called the R2-D2 builders club,” Chamberlain said. “From there you can get the official dimensions of R2-D2 and make sure that it is 100 percent authentic. So this one’s actually built to spec.”
Chamberlain’s robotic R2-D2 delighted the students who followed the droid around the school grounds talking to and touching it and getting into the spirit of Star Wars Day.
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