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Olympics, Folktales, the Feinstein Challenge, and a Children's Book Award

Students are busy learning about the Olympics at Peaslee, performing folktales at Proctor, donating food for the food pantry, and reading the nominees for the Children's Book Award.

Olympics at Peaslee: It’s an Olympic year and is Going for the Gold.

That is the theme of this year’s school fair, which will be held on March 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Peaslee School.

Jackie Barnes, PTO co-chair, said the excitement is growing among the students as each class will have the opportunity to pass the Olympic torch starting with the fifth graders and working its way to the Kindergarten classes. The main office will receive the torch on March 23, the day before the fair, and if weather permits an outdoor ceremony will be held with the entire school.

This year, local businesses have the opportunity to become sponsors of the fair. In continuing with the Olympic theme, sponsorship levels are Bronze ($25-$49), Silver ($50-$74), Gold ($75-$99), and Decathlon Gold ($100+). Any local business that would like to support the fair with a sponsorship or to donate a silent auction item can email the PTO directly or contact Maribeth Grandpre. The form can also be found on Peaslee’s website

The Olympic theme has become a great teaching moment, said Barnes. Each morning since the lighting of the torch, a school wide Olympic trivia question is asked and teachers have access to websites, word searches, and other tools that can be used in the classroom.

There will also be a focus on the different cultures that are involved in the Olympics and on the Para Olympics, which is one of the most popular tournaments of the world involving people with physical disabilities.

Crafts, such as making your own Olympic torch and scratch art medals, will be highlighted as well as other popular arts and crafts tables. Many games, such as a candy toss, a relay, an inflatable obstacle course, basketball, speed pitch, archery and the famous cake walk will be included in the day’s events.

Food and tickets for exciting raffle prizes will be sold, and a silent auction with fabulous items will also be held.

The annual school fair is always one of the biggest fundraisers for the PTO and proceeds will be used to continue providing enrichment programs, academic grants and school-wide reading initiatives.

Folktales at Proctor: Kindergarteners through second graders at had the opportunity to work with Todd Morse from LINX-USA on three different folk tales, which they performed for the school and parents last week.

This program was available to the students through the generosity of a grant from the Northborough Local Cultural Council and the Proctor PTO.

Morse worked with each grade level for a total of only three and one half hours before the big performance.

Each performance was a historical folktale; two based in Mexico and one based in China. Performances were as follows: Kindergartners-The History of Colors, first graders-The Five Brothers, and the second graders-The Corn in the Rock.

Principal Margaret Donohue praised the students and Morse for all their hard work in such a short period of time. “It was absolutely fabulous; I wasn’t expecting to see an off Broadway show today.”

Morse narrated each folktale story while students executed lines and songs, as well as used props and costumes for their performances.

Morse has a theatrical background and is considered an expert at making children a part of the acting process.

Feinstein Challenge: For the fifteenth year, Alan Shawn Feinstein will divide one million dollars among hunger fighting agencies nationwide using it to help them raise funds during March and April of 2012. All food donated to the Northborough Food Pantry between March 1 and April 30 is tallied and reported. Funds are distributed based on the percentage of food collected.

Northborough schools will once again be participating in this challenge. Many of the schools have friendly competitions among classrooms or themes to bring awareness to the needs of the food pantry.

In 2011, about 8,000 items were donated by students resulting in a $275 check from the Feinstein Foundation.

The following is a list of the most needed items as requested by the

Whole grain cereals (hot or cold); granola bars and healthy snacks; rice packages; canned fruit in natural juice; multipacks of single serving fruit and applesauce; canned stews, pasta meals; shelf stable milk and juice boxes; mayonnaise, mustard, and ketchup; microwavable shelf stable meals; and personal care items (toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, razors).

The food pantry encourages families to check expiration dates and not donate items in glass jars. They also do not need dry pasta, cake mixes, stuffing mixes, soup, or canned vegetables.

NSCBA 2012: As in the past, the Northborough-Southborough school districts, library teachers and the Northborough Free Library Children’s Room are holding the Northborough/Southborough Children’s Book Award (NSCBA). The Northboro Education Foundation provided the funding for multiple copies of the  books to be available to students at both the local library and school libraries.

There are 20 books on this year’s list that were chosen to inspire students in grades three through five to get excited about and increase their desire to read more books. Students are asked to read a minimum of three of the 20 books by May 25 and vote for the best book. The winner will be announced on June 1.

Mark Your Calendars: Proctor's Spring Fair will be held on March 31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Melican Middle School report cards will be distributed on March 23.

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