Education (98)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 20:49

Drama department to hold first-ever Masquerade Ball

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

Masquerade balls were a feature of the Carnival season in the 15th century and involved increasingly elaborate allegorical Royal Entries, pageants and triumphal processions celebrating marriages and other dynastic events of late medieval court life.

And, although the Newcastle High School Drama Department’s Masquerade Ball, won’t have quite this much pomp and circumstance, it will allow students a chance to channel their inner courtier.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20 and will be held – where else – in the Newcastle Ball Room (located inside the community center. Price of admission is $15 per masked student or $25 per couple.

Female students are required to wear a floor length dress and everyone is required to wear a mask, said Newcastle Drama teacher Terry Cummings.

As this is a ball, the first dance will be a waltz, she said. She has already begun teaching her drama students how to perform dances like the waltz and the fox trot, she said. Cummings will be offering free dance lessons to other students after the play is finished (See story at left).

“This is the first time anything like this has taken place in Newcastle,” she said. “The kids are so exited.”

Cummings said, they still need several things to make this magical night a success. She is looking for a “reasonably” priced D.J. and caterer.

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

When the Newcastle High School Drama Department were deciding on their winter play, the members knew they didn’t want to do the standard holiday show.

The play they landed on is far from festive, but it is sure to enthrall murder/mystery fans.

A cast of 15 will present Lizzie Borden of Fall River written by Tim Kelly. Beginning at 7 p.m. nightly on Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 6, the 2-Act play will be held in the Newcastle Auditorium located at the high school.

The price of admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. All drama students are selling tickets for the shows or, they can be purchased at the door.  

Over 20 businesses are supporting the play, said Newcastle Drama teacher Terry Cummings. Each night, patrons of the play will be entered (with a ticket) to win special door prizes.

Most everyone knows the rhyme:

Lizzie Borden had an axe,
She    gave    her   mother  40  whacks,
When she  saw  what  she  had  done,
She gave her father 41

And although the gruesome story has been around for over 120 years, the case was never solved. Borden was acquitted of the double homicide, but over the years, the story has been the fodder of movies and plays alike.

Newcastle high school student Kinsey Davis will be portraying the 32 year-old Lizzie Borden, who was arrested and tried for the murders. Borden had clear disdain for her stepmother, Abby, often calling her Mrs. Borden, and for her father, Andrew’s stingy hold on his money.

Brannon Tallant and Morgan Wright will play Andrew and Abby Borden respectively, while Mikayla Schane will play older sister Emma Borden. Katie Curl will portray the maid Bridget, whom Lizzie often called Maggie, the name of a previous maid.

Other cast members include: Mikayla Moomey, Jacob Martin, Kasin Small, Marissa Hunt, Landon Thornhil, Eric Stangfield, Nick Tate, Aubrie Sanders and Chloe Kelley. Stage Manager Alyssa Banks is overseeing around 15 other crewmembers, and Terry Cummings is the director and producer.

Cummings is very proud of her students and the work they have accomplished since drama has returned to Newcastle.

“They are just a wonder,” Cummings said. ‘These are kids that are looking for a niche and drama fills that niche. “They need to be able to understand that they aren’t being judged; drama class is about learning to express themselves without doubt.”

Cummings, who also teaches English, teaches her drama students the importance of the imagination.

“You won’t keep your inner child unless you play with them; you have to have an imagination,” she said. “I absolutely love these kids – through them, I can be a kid.”

 

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

All too often, the media focuses on only the negative aspects of our public education system.

But that is not the complete – even the true – story to be told about teachers. For the biggest part, teachers are selfless, passionate people who often put their students’ needs ahead of their own.

Recognizing and honoring these men and women is why districts like Newcastle Public Schools choose a Teacher of the Year annually. The selection begins with one teacher being chosen (by their peers) as a Site Teacher of the Year. Later in the school year, a District Teacher of the Year will be selected from these four educators.

It is not hard to understand why they were selected after speaking with them as each has a unique quality they bring to the profession of teaching.

The winners of the 2014 Site Teacher of the Year are:

 

  • DeAnn Smith – Early Childhood Center
  • Clarice Vandiver – Elementary
  • Kathy Cannon – Middle School
  • Scott O’Hara – High School

 

 

DeAnn Smith – Speech and Language Pathologist
DeAnn Smith is not just an educator; she is a Nationally Certified teacher with certification through the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She also has a Master’s Degree in Speech/Language Pathology and Special Education Administration.
But her awards and degrees are not what make her a gifted educator; it is her love and care for her students that really show who she is.
“Behavior is communication. Students with limited communication skills need people to look at what they are trying to communicate through their behaviors, said Smith. “I do my best to help bridge the gap between the students, teachers and parents.” 
She currently works with students from age three years to 1st grade, and she also works with high school students. But, during her teaching career, which spans 21 years, she has worked with all ages, birth to 21 years old, Smith said. Until four years ago, she spent most of her career working in Nebraska.
She credits her father, a school superintendent, for her career path.
“My father really wanted me to go into education, so that when I had a family, we could have similar schedules,” she said. “I didn’t want to manage an entire classroom, so he steered me in the direction of Speech Pathology.”
The best part of her job is witnessing the fruit of her labor.
“[My favorite moment] is when a child, who has been trying to figure out how to make a sound (usually an “r”), makes it correctly for the first time. We (the child and I) get super excited, and I get chills down my spine.”
Smith said the worst part of her job is paperwork.
“In special education, we have LOTS of paperwork. My personal motto is: blessed are the flexible, because they won’t be bent out of shape,” she said.
There is not one single moment that stands out, but a series of moments that make teaching special for Smith.
“I love the moments working with more significant learning and communication challenged students, and I see that they’ve acquired skills that will make a significant impact on their life. It could be a new word to communicate, a new skill or a sound that allows them to be more clearly understood,” she said.
When she is not helping her students communicate better, Smith spends time with her husband of 22 years and her two children. She also loves to cook, travel and help with the Newcastle 4-H Club.
Clarice Vandiver – 2nd and 3rd Grade Special Education
Clarice Vandiver has spent 19 years teaching children with special needs reading, spelling, English and math – nine of those years have been at Newcastle Elementary. She said she got the teaching bug when she was a student at college.
“I enjoyed working with young people while I was in college and decided I wanted to continue that as a career,” said Vandiver.
One of her own teachers, Brenda Burton is who inspired Vandiver to go into teaching, but it is her own philosophy that makes her a great teacher.
“She showed me that I must continuously learn and take on the role of a student, so I never forget how to inspire my own class,” she said. “I believe each child is a special individual who needs a safe, stimulating environment to learn. It is my job to provide this place and encourage them to seek information and take risks while learning.”
Whereas the best part of teaching is seeing the “light bulb” come on when a child finally understands a concept that is being taught, for Vandiver, the most challenging part is meeting all of the children’s individual needs within her classroom.
“The most memorable part of my teaching career was teaching my own daughter, Rhylee, when she was in 5th grade,”
When Vandiver is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family at the lake and snow skiing. She also enjoys reading, gardening, watching her daughter play softball and attending Emmaus Baptist Church.
She is married to Randy Vandiver, a retired Okla. City Fire Fighter, and has two children: Cole and Rhylee.
Kathy Cannon – Art, Leadership and Life Skills
She may have only been in the classroom for five years, but Kathy Cannon is no stranger to molding and leading young lives. As a manager for Steak & Ale restaurants, she hired, trained and worked with high school and college students for over 20 years.  
Cannon has been at Newcastle for two years and has already made a big impact with her students – teaching them that art is about seeing things.
“Learning artwork is learning to see things. I don’t know about you, but I want my surgeons to have good eye-hand coordination,” Smith said.
She said she decided to change careers and go into teaching because she enjoys working with young people.
“There’s never a dull moment [with young people],” she said. “I remembered taking art classes and thinking there had to be something more. I wanted to teach the things that weren’t taught.”
Cannon also loves those “light bulb” moments in her classroom.
“The best part of teaching for me is when I’m talking to the students, and they’re all staring at me with blank expressions until one by one, their faces start to light up, because they understand what we are working on or appreciate the artwork,” Smith said. “But the most difficult thing is not having enough time to teach the kids everything that I want to teach them.”
Family is very important to Cannon, and she learns something from each of them.
“My father taught me integrity, my mother taught me to have a heart, my brother taught me no regrets and my sister taught me courage,” she said.
Not surprisingly, when she is not teaching students about art, she is engaging in it herself – as a painter she considers herself a “working artist.” She also keeps busy with her daughter’s activities and going to church.
“My life is also very busy with my daughter, Sydney. She is a junior at Newcastle High School this year, and she is the light of my life,” Cannon said.
Making a difference are the moments Cannon loves.
“The most memorable moment of my teaching career was when one of my former high school students who was not doing well in school discovered something he enjoyed and excelled at in art.  The class made a complete difference in his life,” she said.
Scott O’Hara – Economics and Government
When Scott O’Hara’s uncle – who was a football coach at the University of Iowa, passed away when O’Hara was just 11 years old, he saw how much difference one man could make in the lives of his students.
“When I was at his funeral, I saw how much his players loved him, and they told my he was way more than a Coach. I wanted to have that kind of influence on students.”
O’Hara has taught seniors at Newcastle for the last two of his 10-year career. He is also, himself, a coach (Head Power lifting Coach and Head Girl’s Track Coach) – although he plays down that aspect of his job.
His teaching philosophy is based on living by example.
“[I want to] show students the real world as much as I can in the classroom and out. And I want to show them that anything is possible when you work hard and put your mind to it.”
O’Hara said the best part of teaching is his students – of course!
“[I love] being able to help students on their way and to help them get ready for the real world. I try to teach them and show them things to get ready for,” O’Hara said. “[The hardest part] is by the time I get most of my students, they are all mostly seniors, and communication between parents, students and teachers can really be a struggle.”
He said that winning this award is one of the most memorable moments in his teaching career thus far, but a gift his students gave him ranks at the top.
“I walked into one of my classes one time, and all my students were being perfect. I was wondering why, and it was because they had brought me a new pair of basketball shoes,” he said. “I was in a men’s league, and my shoes were giving me bad blisters. [My students] just went and got them for me. It completely blew me away!”
When he is not teaching and coaching, O’Hara is spending time with his “lovely” wife Tara and his three “adorable” daughters Kaylee, age five and three-year-old twins Peyton and Lydia.
“I love hanging out with m family and fishing – if I ever get the chance. With four girls at home, I am usually busy,” he said.
O’Hara is a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and will be going on a mission trip to Thailand in December.
“I am so excited because I will be going with my wife and another couple. I was very hesitate  [to go on this trip] going with the start for football season and knowing it was going to cost a lot of money. I gave all the excuses in the world way I could not go: its football season, it cost too much, lets just give them the money. But the way God works, that was not His plan for me and my wife. So, the past few months getting prepared to go has been on Faith, and again God has blown me away with all he has done, to get this trip to happen and prepare the way,” O’Hara said.
What would a local teacher from Oklahoma go all the way to Thailand to tell others about God?
“I don’t want to live a life that says and does not want my children to know that Christmas is not about how many presents we get under a tree, but  about Savior that was born for them, and to let them know that there are a lot of boys and girls around the world that don’t have mommy’s and daddy’s. We want to show them love and that there is someone that can love them at all times. I am so honored for this opportunity and cant wait to see what God has in store when we get there,” he said.

 

 

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

Until a year ago, Newcastle junior Brannon Tallant had never thought much about writing.

But when he transferred from Dibble High School, he decided to enroll in Andrea Thomas’s Creative Writing class. And that, as they say, was that.
Tallant soon discovered that he not only had a passion for writing poetry, but that he was also pretty good at it. In fact, so good, that the young man was recently selected as one of 12 Poetry Ambassadors for the State of Oklahoma.

Saturday, Tallant and the other 11 finalists were at the University of Oklahoma to learn the results of the Oklahoma Literary Arts Alliance first ever Oklahoma Youth Poet Laureate. Although he did not win the title of Oklahoma Youth Poet Laureate, he did receive a medal signifying him as one of 11 Poetry Ambassadors.

“To even be considered for this is an honor, because they had to pick from everyone in the state,” Tallant said. “It was a very fun experience, and I will definitely be entering for next year.”

To enter, the young writer had to submit five original works of poetry. The finalist were selected from schools all over the state, Tallant was the only one selected from a small-town school.

Andrea Thomas said, “During the months of August, September and October of 2014, OLAA accepted submissions from young poets, rappers, leaders and activists ages 14-19 from across Oklahoma interested in representing Oklahoma as the inaugural OK State Youth Poet Laureate. A group ofesteemed judges choose 12 Finalists, all given the distinction of “Oklahoma Youth Poet Ambassador,”

Thomas believed her student had a good shot at winning the title because of his hidden talent.

“Brannon started writing poetry in my Creative Writing class last year. I saw promise and encouraged him to continue. He then made it his mission to get better and better, and that he did. He is not afraid of criticism and not afraid of revision. He grew so much as a poet last year, and now has reached a level that I would call professional” Thomas said.

Tallant said his inspiration for his prose varies, with some of the more personal topics coming from things he has actually experienced. But, he also likes to step into the shoes of others and write about their own hardships.

“I mainly write free verse slam poetry,” Tallant said. “I write these types, because it’s the type that comes naturally to me. I’m not too much of a fan of structured poetry, though I can still write them. I just prefer to not have limits.”

Lengthy poetry doesn’t deter the young man, but topic can shake him up a bit.

“The difficulty of writing a poem for me doesn’t depend on the length. It depends on the topic. If  I can connect with it, I could write lines upon lines on it. If I don’t really feel the subject, it is hard,” he said.

Since he has only been writing for about a year, he really hasn’t tried his hand at other forms of literature, but he is still growing as a writer. Tallant’s other interest include drama class and performing group poems.

“In drama, we are currently working on a play scheduled for December 5th and 6th. It’s called Lizzie Borden of Fall River,” he said. “I’m also in this competition called Louder than a Bomb with some of my peers and we’re writing and performing a group poem. Four of us get to perform together.”

As a Poetry Ambassador, Tallant will have chances in the future to speak at events.

“The only other thing I would add is that I think poetry is too underrated. Slam poetry, what I do, is not ‘roses are red, violets are blue’ or Shakespeare style writing. The type of poetry I write is more self-empowering and a great emotional outlet,” Tallant said. “My favorite thing about poetry though, is that when you’re doing it, no one can tell you it’s wrong.”

A Scholastic Epiphany

 

By Brannon Tallant, Oklahoma Poetry Ambassador

I was told to write a poem about education and youth leadership
At first, I didn’t know what could ever materialize without
Sounding incredibly cliché and overused
But something came to me in a thought provoking revelation
So bear with me because
This is the breath that could change your life

Education
At the very mention of the word
High school begins to fabricate before my mind’s eyes
And along with that, a disdainful association

This knowledge that I’ll acquire will
Never get me anywhere but through the year
Paper cuts and graphite dusted fingers were all I got
In a concrete shell that I couldn’t wait to get out of

All it is is
Irrefutable deadlines
Sleep deprived lectures
Mind straining memorization
And standardized tests anyway

But that’s not what education is all about

Education is the contrast of deliberate ignorance and
Enlightenment to the third degree
It’s the difference between McDonald’s and Wall Street
Nights under city bridges and preventive ceilings
Discarded dinner scraps and a hot meal

After being put through classroom doors and contemptuous rejections
Students have resorted to
Filling out welfare forms instead of job applications
Holding cigarettes between their fingers instead of pencils
And feeling all the more anxiety taking pregnancy tests than final exams

There are too many prominent negativities left floating around
Too many girls after the D instead of a PhD
Too many guys after that green instead of the green
And teenagers picking frat parties instead of political ones
Destroying their IQs faster than they’re driving their cars to nowhere

I know that I can’t be the only one here who thinks that
There needs to be an intellectual uprising
This reality check ended my blissful ignorance
It was a smack to the face
And I want you to be next because
Innocence never changed the world

We are more than just grains in the sand
Fillers in the space
It takes a thousand ripples to make the wave
I learned that
A machine only works if every cog is working
And that it’s a team effort and
A leader is our repairman guiding us places we dare not go alone
I will be the repairman if that’s what it takes
To see this social reformation through

So I’ll tell you something that you need to know
Elicit a transcendent purpose and authenticity through my work and
Bring out your mind’s freedom and personal independence
I’ll play the embodiment of your imaginary personnel and
Spark that internal revolution
In the context of this articulate written art form

Because this educational process that we undergo
Isn’t here just to torture us
It’s here to brace our minds for the greatest inheritance of all
The world
The past
The now
The future
The everything
It’s all in our unstained hands
If only we’ll step up to bat and take it

 

 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 16:57

FFA members attend National FFA Convention

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By Sydney Cannon FFA Reporter

On October 27-31, six members of the Newcastle FFA Chapter made the road trip to Louisville, Kentucky to attend the 87th National FFA Convention.

Sydney Cannon, Austin Hey, Nicole Lee, Josh Miner, Makenzie O’Brien and Derick Price attended as well as Newcastle FFA advisor Brandon Morgan and Newcastle Superintendent Tony O’Brien.

En route to the convention, the FFA members toured the National Corvette Museum, Churchill Downs and Louisville Slugger. As a token of appreciation, two personalized Louisville Sluggers were brought to Newcastle High School principal Rob Gilstrap and assistant principal Robbin Sanders in order to thank them for their cooperation with the local ag program.

At the opening session of the National Convention, FFA members from all fifty states, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands heard from motivational speaker Nick Vujicic. Vujicic, who was born with no arms and no legs, spoke about going all out in everything you do, regardless of your limits. Newcastle FFA members took his words to heart, and came home ready to Go All Out for the FFA and to better lead the members of this great organization.

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By Darla Welchel
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People usually hate when others play mind games, but not so for Bridge Creek High School.
On Oct. 26 at 5 p.m., the Bridge Creek Academic Team will be on the KSBI show, Mind Games, competing with other local academic teams for cash prizes. Team members for the Bridge Creek team are seniors Darby Bryce, Robert BlueBack and Jenny Corbin with Juniors Morgan Danker and Justin Meyers.
The teams earn cash prizes for their school; $10 a question sponsored by the Choctaw Nation. There is also a single Oklahoma history question worth $250 for each team, sponsored by Ward Petroleum, said team advisor and high school technology teacher Adam Carr.
"Mind Games recruits academic teams at the Oklahoma Academic Coaches Association meetings every September, so I had been hearing about it for a couple of years," Carr said. "Last spring, one of my team members, Morgan Danker, asked if we could do it. Once I knew I had a little buy-in on the part of the team, I knew it was time to push the opportunity forward."
Carr loves to show off his team's prowess at academic bowls, and was looking for a different venue for them to compete.
"I like to find different opportunities for students to show what they are made of. I figure, if I believe in them enough to make the opportunity available to them, they will feel confident to put themselves out there and make a good showing," he said. "I feel like that's my biggest challenge as an educator – to get kids to believe that hard work makes a difference. That confidence is a choice we make, not a feeling that is fleeting, and that the status quo is a construct we have control over."
In order for the team to be chosen for the show, they had to take a "quiz" as one unit, he said. They had to take an online test and answer 24 questions as fast as possible, and the team that got the most questions correct in the shortest amount of time received the highest seed in the tournament.
Filming actually started in September, and the team had to sign a confidentiality agreement not to leak the results before the airdate, Carr said. The filming for the tournament has been completed, but one unfortunate turn of event may keep further shows from airing - KSBI was purchased by Griffin Communications and future shows are in question.
"We were told that no matter what happens with Griffin and KSBI anything that is taped, they intend to air even if they can only air it online," he said. "The big thing [the show] means, is a new and novel experience for students. The second thing it means is students get to see their community supporting them as they assert themselves and take on new challenges. The third thing it means is that any question they get right they now have $10 to spend as a team."
Carr, who has taught at Bridge Creek for 12 years, has coached the academic team for 11 of those years. In addition, he has also coached the robotic team for the past two years.
"I am hoping the Mind Games game show continues; I have some sophomores and freshmen that I would like to take in years to come. I have a very diverse team with lots of really smart kids. As we learn confidence and develop a hunger for competition, my Academic Team shows a lot of potential. When people watch the show, no matter how you want it to go, you will be yelling at the screen, I know I was, it is really a good game," Carr said.

 

Wednesday, 08 October 2014 18:18

Pucker up and help fund education

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By Darla Welchel
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Limeades are a sweet and sour way to cool off when you are hot, it is also a way to help raise money for education.
Voting is now going on for Sonic Drive-In's Limeades for Learning give-away.
Two Newcastle teachers have submitted three projects in which they hope to receive educational funding, according to Sonic ad agency representative Madison LaRoche. Sixth grade reading teacher Blaire Harrison and middle school technology teacher Vickie Crossley have entered in this year’s contest.
Harrison's project Tech It Out is requesting 10 Chromebooks to promote the use of technology in her reading classroom. The cost of this project is $2,989.40.
"We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher's hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world. Please help bring our classroom into the future by donating to our project," she said in her project submittal.
Her second project Look, Look, Look it Up! Asked for actual dictionaries, thesauruses and almanacs to teach her students to look information up in reference books; this project has already been funded for $856.45.
Crossley's project I Didn’t Know That! - Tech Resources for Middle Schoolers is requesting books and reference materials about technology, which she says can be used in numerous ways and have a multitude of uses. Her project cost is $437.06.
"Technology is often confused with the term 'computers'. But technology is about problem solving and improving things. How people use tools to create new things and develop new ideas are better descriptions of technology. I try to reinforce that throughout the school year," Crossley said in her project report.
Limeade for Learning allows people to vote on their favorite project to help local teachers receive funding for educational needs in their classrooms. Go to www.limeadesforlearning.com to find and vote on a project.
You will have to sign in either through your Facebook, twitter or pintrest accounts or you can sign up using your email, LaRoche said. You can vote once a day, but there are other ways to earn more votes like visiting your local Sonic. When you order an item, you will receive a sticker with a special code on it for more votes.
You can also get additional votes for sharing the link on Facebook, twitter, pintrest and through email, she said. And, when you have voted 10 days in a row, you will get extra votes for your favorite teacher's project.
Christi Woodworth, Senior Director of Communications & Community Relations at Sonic Drive-In  said, "As a national brand, SONIC Drive-In is dedicated to supporting our local communities and we are passionate about education. Limeades for Learning is our way to give back to the communities we serve, empowering our guests to vote for their favorite projects and connecting each local drive-in to the public schools in the area."
Sonic has pledged $500,000 for education and have been giving away $100,000 a week since the contest started Sept. 22; the voting and funding will continue through Oct. 26, so there is still plenty of time to get online or visit Sonic to cast your vote.

 

Thursday, 02 October 2014 15:13

A message from the superintendent

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Good Morning Racers,

As I sit here reflecting on a very busy weekend for me, and the school district, I am reminded - between the yawns - of how old I sometimes feel. Keeping up with my own children and many of the children in the district keeps me old and young at the same time. We as school personnel know that this time of the year can be very demanding on our students and their families also. 

With homecoming week approaching, this is a perfect example of what I am trying to write about this week. How often do we feel overwhelmed by ALL that we have to do as adults, and it seems like none of it gets done as well or maybe as quickly as we would like for it to be done. The same goes with our students. While this may be the “best years of their lives,” they still are facing tremendous pressures to perform in the classroom, the athletic fields, and at the everyday jobs they have in addition to trying to be a “KID” who is in school. 

Just like the pit crews of racing teams are always behind the scenes making the cars of their drivers safer and faster and more dependable, let us as the pit crews for our “RACERS” continue to do the same for them. In the days, weeks, and months to come prior to the end of the semester continue to push them hard while at the same time encouraging them and giving them every support possible. 

We as a district are beginning the major reporting for the year that is due at the beginning of next month. These reports will show that we have another record enrollment and that our demographics are slowing changing. These data points are also indicative of the need of our students to continue to be supported outside of school in all that they do. Many of them will need “support” in their academic efforts; others will need it in athletics, music, or robotics. In other words, let’s all make a concerted effort to be supportive of all of our students when and wherever possible.

Since this is homecoming week, please come out and support the students and faculty in all of the activities that are planned for the week culminating in the hosting of district fast pitch softball on Thursday; first ever regional volleyball tournament appearance for Racer volleyball on Thursday night in Cache; the parade, carnival, and football game on Friday.

Have a great week!

 

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 20:03

Newcastle 4-H collects tabs for charity

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By Darla Welchel
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Imagine being surrounded by 462,455 pop tabs. That's a lot of aluminum – bags and buckets of the stuff.
The Newcastle 4-H Club, in sponsorship with the Newcastle elementary schools, collected over 360 pounds of pop tabs since last year.  At approximately 1,267 tabs per pound, that equals nearly a half million tabs of all sorts and sizes.
No, the club is not obsessive compulsive; they are just doing their part to help the families of seriously ill or injured children by collecting all types of pull tabs from cans, said 4-H parent and elementary school speech pathologist DeAnn Smith.
The "Pull for Kids" campaign is part of the OK 4-H Foundation project to benefit Ronald McDonald Houses, she said. Individual clubs, like Newcastle's, collect from October to October each year and present their total poundage of aluminum tabs at the District Youth Action Conference.
"Last year, the total for all of McClain County was 75 pounds," Smith said. "This year, Newcastle 4-H collected over 362 pounds."
What made the difference? Smith said she got the idea to make it a project in all of the elementary schools when her students started bringing her pop tabs in their pockets and lunch bags. The reason they collect only the tabs is because the aluminum is a better quality, and it's much easier to save the tab instead of the whole can.
"I started just at the ECC last October, then added the elementary school in November," she said. "Kids would come up to me saying 'we brought you a pop tab, Mrs.. Smith.'"
Each month, that school is in session, all the classroom teachers have collection receptacles in their classrooms. Smith collects them with the help of her son, Brenden, who is the Newcastle 4-H vice president, and other 4-H students and takes them home to weigh and store.
Monthly, the class bringing in the most tabs earns the right to keep the recycled traveling trophy in their classroom. At the end of May, the class with the greatest poundage of tabs in each building wins a cookie party, Smith said.
"It's gone over really well. It kind of started from a challenge between the Blanchard 4-H and us as to who could collect the most," she said. "So we said, 'how can we get more,' and we came up with this idea."
The focus for the club is for community service and is a great project for the younger 4-H members, because they can put a pop tab in their pockets, Smith said.
Brenden even did a presentation on this project for one of his 4-H projects, demonstrating the effectiveness of the Newcastle 4-H, as well as explaining what "Pull for Kids" is all about.
The Newcastle 4-H is excited to attend this year’s conference and bring all the tabs collected, she said. The group will continue the project and look forward to bringing in even more tabs.
Individuals and business can also donate pull-tabs at any elementary site. The Pacer currently has a container in the staff kitchen to save pop and soup tabs.

 

Wednesday, 01 October 2014 19:12

Hogs and Kisses at Newcastle Elementary

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By Darla Welchel
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Pucker up, its time for the annual Hogs & Kisses fundraising event. From Monday, Oct. 6- Friday, Oct. 10, students can bring change each day to fill the piggy bank for the teacher of their choice.
"Teachers usually decorate a pig, which gets judged at the end of the week, and the winner gets a gift certificate," said PTO President Joanah Salas.  
The teacher who raises the most money by the end of the week, will kiss the pig. The winner for PreK-1st will kiss the pig at the ECC, and the winner from 2nd-5th will pucker up at the 4/5 gym.
Last yearss winning teacher at the ECC was Mrs. Huff and since Mrs. Chlouber was less than $5 away she received 2nd place and was a good sport and went ahead and kissed the pig too, Salas said. Mrs. Sykes won the honors at the upper elementary schools.

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