A Spoon Full of Sugar!

Remember the song “A Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down” from Mary Poppins?  Did you ever in a million years associate that with the “magic sugar cubes” that were used to administer the first oral polio vaccine.  Check out this story…guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

The odd connection between vaccination and ‘Mary Poppins’

By Harmeet Kaur, CNN

Updated 5:57 PM ET, Thu December 10, 2020

The song “A Spoonful of Sugar” from the film Mary Poppins was actually inspired by the polio vaccine.

The iconic song lyric from the 1964 Disney film “Mary Poppins” is a lesson in making otherwise mundane or daunting tasks more enjoyable.

But the idea for the tune actually came from a conversation the songwriter had with his young son about the polio vaccine — and the son of that songwriter is using that nugget of film music history to emphasize the importance of trusting medical professionals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jeff Sherman, whose father Robert Sherman is one half of famed songwriting duo the Sherman Brothers, told the story behind “A Spoonful of Sugar” in a recent Facebook post that has since been widely shared.

Richard Sherman (left) and Robert Sherman (right) with Julie Andrews (center) hold their Oscar statues in 1965 for their work on the film Mary Poppins.

Sherman told CNN that as a child, he was afraid of getting shots and would often try to run away from the nurses who tried to administer them. So when he told his father one afternoon that he had received the oral polio vaccine at school that day, his father was surprised.

He recalled receiving the oral polio vaccine at school as a child. When he came home that afternoon, he told his father about his day.

“Didn’t it hurt?” Robert Sherman asked his son.

“I told him they put it on a sugar cube and you just ate it,” Sherman wrote. “He stared at me, then went to the phone and called my uncle Dick.”

Unbeknownst to Sherman at the time, his father and his uncle Richard Sherman were in the process of composing music for the film “Mary Poppins” — and had been struggling to come up with a new song. A song they wrote called “Through the Eyes of Love” had been rejected, and Walt Disney had asked the duo to give him something snappier.

Robert Sherman’s conversation with his son finally gave him the catchy slogan that he and his brother needed: A Spoonful of Sugar (Helps the Medicine Go Down).

Children receive the polio vaccine on a sugar cube in the early 1960s.

And the song now beloved by generations of children was born.

Robert Sherman has written about the same moment in his autobiography “Moose: Chapters from My Life.”

The oral polio vaccine that Jeff Sherman received was made commercially available in 1961. It largely replaced an earlier injectable version that required multiple injections and because of poor oversight caused cases of paralysis in some instances.

His anecdote illustrates how widespread the campaigns to administer polio vaccinations were in the 1960s — and how those vaccines helped eradicate the disease by 1979.

Sherman said he was watching CNN recently when he heard a health expert discussing how some people are hesitant to take Covid-19 vaccine.

The segment reminded him of the story from his childhood, so he took to social media to urge people to trust medical experts during this current pandemic.

“For anyone I know here on FB, trust the doctors,” he wrote in the post. “When the vaccine for Covid comes out, get it. We are all codependent on each other in this pandemic. Trust science and doctors and epidemiologists.”

He continued, “We are a small world and we will beat this enemy if we listen to those who know. Be safe. Wear a mask. Be kind and thoughtful and considerate to your fellow man and woman. We will beat this.”

Since sharing his story, Sherman said he’s received numerous messages from medical professionals thanking him for helping to build trust in the vaccine.

“I’ve gotten so many thank yous from doctors and nurses who are just so grateful that somebody said to trust them,” he told CNN. “That means everything to me.”

 

The Rotary Club of Denver’s 2020 Donna Hultin Excellence Award Winner!

The Donna Hultin Excellence Award was created by the Rotary Club of Denver in 2008 in honor of Donna’s retirement from Denver Kids, Inc. and her service to Rotary.  It is designed to recognize one high achieving graduating high school senior from Denver Kids who is college bound.  Qualifications include demonstrated academic achievement, excellence in attendance, community service, leadership ability and a positive attitude.  This prestigious award is now given in Donna’s memory.  Congratulations to Ariana Ricalday​​​​​​​, our 2020 Donna Hultin Excellence Award winner!

This Excellence award includes a $500 scholarship from the Rotary Club of Denver. In addition, the Donna Hultin Family has generously contributed an additional $500, bringing the total scholarship $1,000!

Ariana Ricalday has been a Denver Kids student for four years, and in those four years, has shown much passion, dedication, and an incredible work ethic.  Ariana is graduating from KIPP Denver Collegiate High School, a very rigorous school where she had maintained a near 4.0 GPA.  As a stellar student, Ariana was also nominated to be part of PEAK Achievers, a weekly group that leads her high school in community service and activism.  She’s also involved with Tiger Leaders, a small student leadership group which works with the principal to promote student engagement and school spirit.  Additionally, Ariana was chosen to tutor fellow classmates in math in her sophomore year of high school, won multiple Student of the Year awards in composition, and maintained perfect attendance for three years.  As Ariana’s Educational Counselor said, “she is one of the few students who is consistently taking initiative to challenge herself by setting new goals.  Whether she identifies a goal around her relationship to others or an academic goal, Ariana actively works towards them with a genuine desire to improve and with a charming sense of humor.”

Ariana’s accomplishments do not stop at the school doors; she has maintained active employment since 2018 and has been involved in her community through a traditional Mexican folklorico dance organization. Through this organization, Ariana has been able to perform in order to raise funds for funeral expenses for a local family, as well as raise funds for necessary surgeries that children in her community needed.  She shows immense dedication in this group and it shows!  They won 1st place in the 2016 Rocky Mountain Folkloric Competition – youth division.

Ariana is a first-generation high school graduate and college student.  She is looking forward to starting at the University of Denver this fall, where she will work to earn her degree in biology with a minor in dance.  Ariana hopes to become either a nurse or teacher one day: two professions suited wonderfully for Ariana’s character and community-oriented vision of her future.

In her award essay, Ariana stated that, “I push myself out of my comfort zone, and I believe that’s something that will help me take full advantage of opportunities in college.”

Congratulations to Ariana!