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THE LION KING Celebrates 1,000th Performance with 1,000 Ticket Giveaway to Walter Long Elementary School

October 26, 2011 by  



Niles Rivers as Simba, 5th grader Daniel Hernandez & teacher Danielle Rayos
In honor of its upcoming 1,000th performance, Disney’s THE LION KING at Mandalay Bay awarded Walter V. Long Elementary School 1,000 tickets at a surprise in-school assembly today with a heartwarming performance by LION KING cast members (Pictured above: Niles Rivers as Simba, 5th grader Daniel Hernandez & teacher Danielle Rayos – Photo credit: Bryan Haraway).

Walter Long Elementary School students win 1,000 tickets to THE LION KING

Walter Long Elementary School students win 1,000 tickets to THE LION KING

 Photo credit: Bryan Haraway.

Students from more than 80 Clark County elementary schools submitted essays on why their school deserves to see THE LION KING before the show’s final performance on Dec. 30, and the winning essay came from Walter V. Long’s Daniel Hernandez in Danielle Rayos’ fifth grade class.

Daniel Hernandez wins THE LION KING essay contest at Walter Long Elementary School

Daniel Hernandez wins THE LION KING essay contest at Walter Long Elementary School

 Photo credit: Bryan Haraway.

Principal Dr. Joyce Brooks welcomed the students to the assembly and introduced LION KING cast members Aaron De Jesus (“Timon”), Adam Kozlowski (“Pumbaa”), Tim Johnson Jr. and Zaire Adams (“Young Simba”) and Lauryn Hardy and Nia Harris (“Young Nala”) to teach the students the beloved LION KING song “Hakuna Matata.” Hundreds of ecstatic children clapped and sang along in unison to the song led by the cast members.

Daniel Hernandez and Niles Rivers as Simba at surprise LION KING assembly at Walter Long Elementary School

Daniel Hernandez and Niles Rivers as Simba at surprise LION KING assembly at Walter Long Elementary School

 Photo credit: Bryan Haraway.

Just as the “Hakuna Matata” came to close, Niles Rivers (“Simba”) burst onto the stage in full makeup and costume and began singing along as the students squealed and giggled with delight at the sight of the character. Rivers took the microphone and said, “I have some really exciting news for you. Every student and every teacher at Walter Long is going to Mandalay Bay to see THE LION KING!” The students erupted in cheers, screaming and even letting out some very happy tears! Rivers led the crowd in an appropriate “ROOOAAAARRR!”

Daniel Hernandez, Niles Rivers as Simba at surprise LION KING assembly at Walter Long E.S. 10.25.11-570

Daniel Hernandez, Niles Rivers as Simba at surprise LION KING assembly at Walter Long E.S. 10.25.11-570

 Photo credit: Bryan Haraway.

The room calmed down only for a moment before the winning student’s essay was announced. Rivers slowly spoke, “There is one reason you all are going to Mandalay Bay to see THE LION KING. It’s because of one essay written by one student at Walter Long Elementary.” The students anxiously sat up anticipating whose name Rivers would call. “His name is Daniel Hernandez,” shouted Rivers as the students burst into cheers once again. Hernandez ran to the front of the stage giving high-fives to everyone he passed. The fifth grader joyfully told his peers that he worked really hard on his essay and thanked his teachers for their support.

Adam Kozlowski, Zaire Adams, Tim Johnson Jr, Daniel Hernandez, Niles Rivers, Nia Harris, Lauryn Hardy & Aaron De Jesus

Adam Kozlowski, Zaire Adams, Tim Johnson Jr, Daniel Hernandez, Niles Rivers, Nia Harris, Lauryn Hardy & Aaron De Jesus

 Photo credit: Bryan Haraway.

“Congratulations to Walter Long Elementary. We’ll see you at the show!” Rivers told the students as the piano picked back up and the cast members exited the stage singing. Brooks ended the assembly by telling the children that today was an example of never giving up and working hard toward a goal.

Aaron De Jesus, Adam Kozlowski perform at surprise LION KING assembly at Walter Long Elementary School

Aaron De Jesus, Adam Kozlowski perform at surprise LION KING assembly at Walter Long Elementary School

 Photo credit: Bryan Haraway.

THE LION KING celebrates its 1,000th performance on Thursday, Nov. 3 and will end its run in Las Vegas on Friday, Dec. 30. The hit musical is thanking Las Vegas supporters for an incredible two and a half years on The Strip with a special 2-for-1 ticket offer. Locals can bid farewell to Broadway’s hit musical by enjoying tickets at 50 percent off orchestra and front mezzanine seats through Dec. 18. To purchase tickets, call 702-632-7580 or visit the Mandalay Bay Box Office and mention the code “PRIDE” with valid Nevada ID.

© 2011, VegasNews.com. All rights reserved. All content copyrighted or used with permission. All rights reserved. This content may not be distributed, modified, reproduced in whole or in part without prior permission from VegasNews.com.


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