Marshall Middle School has been at it again, bent on their mission, not only to educate students, also to provide enriching opportunities for growth in character and increased knowledge of the world.
Last week was Marshall's third annual Anti-Bully Assembly. Primarily organized by Cindy Terry, assistant principal and Lynn Fronk, the master of ceremonies was Bob Pullings, veteran counselor. This assembly was the culmination of Marshall's yearlong efforts to decimate bullying incidents. The school partnered with the community, from businesses, churches, and other concerns to post "Striving to Be Bully-Free" on their marquees.
Throughout the year, students had participated in contests: posters, T-shirt designs, video, and music presentations, all of which were shared during the assembly. The contest winners were acknowledged and awarded prizes.
Each of the integrated curriculum academic teams of students presented skits demonstrating how bullying should be handled, and the assembly finished off with its closing video, "Clovis Gets the Message" that included all those around the community who participated.
On the day following the assembly, Marshall held a Cultural Arts Fair, with the new gym as the setting for the booths and performances. Each academic team of students had chosen a continent whose cultures they showcased in multiple booths through presentations; artifacts — some authentic, some made by students; posters and displays; looping Powerpoints; and with dance performances of various kinds.
Cindy Terry shared, "Lots of hard work went into the planning and preparation of this event," on the part of both students and teachers. There were booths with games, activities, displays of all sorts and traditional foods galore. Dance instructor Emily Cordell choreographed students in the dances: North American, African, South American, Asian and Australian.
Marshall staff was grateful for the many parent volunteers that helped out in every aspect of the Cultural Arts Fair. The students also really enjoyed their "passports" that were provided for them. During the course of the fair, students "traveled" to all the countries represented where they presented their passports to receive a stamp or a sticker to show they had visited that locale.
Wandering around the booths, I saw a vast array of interesting, exotic, colorful displays and artifacts, including some beautiful artwork, hand-painted boomerangs, and a talking macaw!
Interestingly, Terry reported that when Marshall administrators were discussing the event with teachers, all admitted that it was a lot of work, but they concurred that it was really well worth all the effort. And students? Remarkably, the kids reported that they actually preferred the Cultural Arts Fair to the "Spring Fling" with dunking booth they'd had in the past.
Euripides, one of the great playwrights of ancient Greece, said a long time ago, "Learning is more effective when it is an active rather than a passive process."
Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org