Education column: Holiday happenings

Schools across the district are busy with holiday happenings. Regular learning and assessment are ongoing in classrooms, of course; however, this is the season when a multitude of additional activities and events are being prepared and presented. Music programs and concerts abound this time of year, providing opportunities for students to showcase skills and talents.

The Arts Academy at Bella Vista recently presented its annual "Nutcracker" ballet, with the entire cast made up of students from kindergarten through sixth grades. The production was breathtaking, with wonderful performances by all, particularly the pudgy little mice, with "paws" cupped under their chins running to and fro.

Don't miss Marshall Middle School's production of "A Christmas Carol," which will be presented 7 p.m. today at Marshall Auditorium. Last year's performance was wonderful, and no doubt this year's will be as well.

In addition to colorful, seasonal performances, students are also involved in community service activities. Alexa Pickel, art teacher at Clovis High School, shared updates about the Salvation Army Can Drive. "…we have 1,085 cans for the Salvation Army. The National Honor Society members brought in nearly half the total with 446 cans, and the winning third period class was Therese Pacheco, with 146 cans."

Earlier, we reported on the CHS gifted program, called "Project Lead," whose goal is to help out in the community, serving existing needs, as well as serving as interns in participating local businesses. The work is in progress, but so far, it's progressing energetically. Sophomores are currently creating five community service projects: working with Parks and Recreation Director Bill Bizzell to bring families to the local parks; working with Fire Chief Ray Westerman to ensure all Clovis homes have smoke detectors; and contacting 100 major corporations to ask for donations of clothing, shoes, and accessories for the Lighthouse Mission.

Project Lead's juniors are currently being placed in internships with a local veterinarian and the Clovis zoo. The juniors are also currently writing, recording, publishing, and selling a song to raise funds for a local charity. Project Lead's seniors are working on internships with the local Chamber of Commerce, several doctors' and dental practices, several optometry practices, Brooks Interiors, the Clovis zoo; the office of the District Attorney, and Sophisticuts.

Other High school students are also stepping outside their comfort zones. This year at the recent Christmas Lights Parade, a Clovis High School theater class, taught by Keith Ingram, entered a float — a first for the theater class. The students actually won first place for the "Small Float" category. Ingram shared: "the float was "Santa's Workshop" with four of the kids in Christmas presents labeled, 'Barbie.' We had a 'cowboy and girl' Ken and Barbie, a Hispanic Barbie, and a Native American Barbie. Also on the float were six elves in full costume, working on toys; a mechanical ballerina, and a robot. The kids had great fun, and the crowd's response to the float was excellent."

Looks like our students are busy elves this season.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at

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