Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Auntie Roz Teaches Life Lessons in a Nutshell

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Auntie Roz Teaches Life Lessons in a Nutshell

Article excerpt


You might say she's nuts about show business.

And she's even more nuts about motivating children to sing, to learn and become better people.

To hundreds of Jacksonville school children, she's Auntie Roz "The Peanut Lady."

To everyone else she's Roslyn Burrough, who was in the last graduating class at Northwestern High School in 1964 before it became a middle school.

After decades of singing and performing on Broadway and in touring companies, she returned a few years ago to Jacksonville's Northside where she grew up.

When she got back, she had two things on her mind. First, down deep in her bones, she still felt the need to perform.

And second, she secretly always wanted to be a teacher.

"It's just something I always felt," she said. "I just knew I could reach children and touch their lives."

She put those two things together by creating "The Peanut Lady" and performing at schools, first in Northeast Florida, then throughout the Southeast.

The character grew from an early presentation she gave on George Washington Carver, the scientist famous for his work with the peanut.

Her shtick grew to the point where she wrote a song called I Love Peanuts and created a dance she calls the Peanut Butter Bop.

"Kids had so much fun with the character, I began to use her to get their attention -- but my real goal was to motivate them to learn about history and to learn to create for themselves," she said. "I even teach them how to write their own jingles."

She returned Nov. 9 to her alma mater, now a middle school, to give a motivational talk to students and share the memories of her performing years in the New York, across the country and in many foreign countries.

"I was in the last graduating class of Northwestern Senior High School and the no-nonsense teachers like Charlotte Stewart and Emma Moran kept me grounded and guided me to the success I've enjoyed for more than 30 years," said Burrough, who has produced and performed the Auntie Roz Peanut Lady Show across the Southeast for about five years. …

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