Students Watch Magic Show

Coleman Elementary students sat in rapt attention as Ronald McDonald performed a series of magic feats in their school gym Dec. 5. The visit was to thank the students for participating in the Ronald McDonald House pull tab program. -- Missourian Photo.

A soda can pull tab collection campaign to benefit temporary homes for sick children’s families was nothing short of magic for Coleman Elementary students Dec. 5.

Ronald McDonald, the famed clown mascot of the McDonald’s fast food chain, used a magic act to introduce students to Ronald McDonald House, a unique place where parents can stay overnight when visiting their sick children in nearby hospitals.

The happy clown told Coleman students that they were helping to provide a place for these families with the simple act of saving the pull tabs from soda consumed at their homes, placing them in zip-lock bags and bringing them to school.

The pull tabs collected at Coleman will be combined with pull tabs from hundreds of other schools, sold on the recycling market with funds going to the Ronald McDonald House.

In an act designed to cement the pull tab campaign and the visit to memory, Ronald stood at the front of the gym where 402 students sat on the floor and stared in rapt attention.

After thanking students for participating in the campaign, Ronald revealed a series of slight of hand activities to illustrate the importance of working together and supporting each other.

The clown made things appear and disappear, a cut rope reassemble itself and metal rings connected and disconnected. He made colors appear, disappear and reappear in a coloring book and made three small red, white and blue scarves reassemble themselves into a U.S. flag.

In this trick, the veteran actor was almost upstaged by kindergartner Ruby Pennington. When Ronald appeared to accidentally drop the blue scarf behind him as he pushed the red and white scarves into the magic pouch, the majority of the 402 voices shouted in unison.

“Behind you. Behind you.”

“It’s not behind me,” Ronald said. “It’s in the pouch.”

“No,” reverberated through the gym as the students tried to help the Ronald.

When he still did not look behind him, Ruby took matters into her own hands. She stood, walked to the front of the gym, reached behind the clown, picked up the blue scarf and handed it to him as her schoolmates roared their approval.

Mary Beth Schmidt, who is spearheading the pull tab program at all Meramec Valley R-III schools, coordinated the Coleman visit.