Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

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March 3, 2013

Sanborn School's Harvest Festival founder has book on her life

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Seifert said she was particularly skilled at developing stage productions and could incorporate many grade levels in one production.

"She reminded me of The Music Man in that [belief that] every school should have a good music program," he said.

Upon returning from the sabbatical, she went back to Sanborn Elementary. It was 1979 and she brought an English keepsake that she would share with the Andover school. In England, she took part in a festival with her daughter, Amy, and music students. They visited older folks, mostly living alone in villages, and brought small gifts. The smiles were priceless, she said.

"I remember one man who was a veteran and I remember the tears on his cheeks when we left," she said. "I knew it was special."

As a result, the Harvest Festival at Sanborn Elementary School was born. Every year, Sanborn students brighten the days of local nursing home and assisted living residents at Thanksgiving by visiting and bringing small gifts.

"I've always believed that kids should learn about doing nice things for others," she said.

In 1982, town officials presented a Harvest Festival thank-you plaque to Guziejka – a picture of the plaque is included in the book.

Her career was all about singing and creating musicals for kids around the world, and she loved it. Even an improperly tiled music room for students in Turkey couldn't curb her music enthusiasm. That room caused severe hearing problems for her.

But this is one tough lady. Her husband, Eddie, has been disabled and unable to work for years. They will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in June. Their daughter, Susan, battled multiple sclerosis for years. She died in 2008.

The couple have two other children, Eric Guziejka of Texas and Amy, of Winchester.

"I just love to write and I know how important the arts are for kids. I've seen it, lived it," she said. "I thought sharing my story might be enjoyable for others."

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