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Spirit for Haiti, Marionettes, Black Out Bullying Day, Fitness and Drama

The school year is almost officially at the halfway mark and the year continues with students fundraising for a cause, watching an awesome puppet show, discussing anti-bullying, walking to school, and adding a little drama to the day.

Spirit for Haiti: Marking the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, four fifth grade students at facilitated the Spirit for Haiti fundraiser for the month of January. Katelyn Reynolds, Lauren Earley, Katherine Lee, and Tyler Potter have been the key organizers for this event. They coordinated everything including all publicity.

Assisting the people and children of Haiti is not a new thing for two of the girls. Earley’s family currently sponsors a little boy in Haiti who is an orphan and Reynolds’ mother is a nurse who travels to Haiti once a year for about two weeks with Partners in Development.

Students had the opportunity to participate in fun themed Fridays for a small donation, such as Sports for Spirit (students wore their favorite sports jersey), Caring Colors (each grade wore an assigned color), and PJs for Poverty (a pajama day). The class that raised the most money in the first three weeks was able to choose the theme for the last Friday, which is Mix Match Day.

Having a goal of $500 total has easily been surpassed; $1,787 was raised in the first three weeks. All funds raised will be split between Partners in Development and Free the Kids

Marionettes at ProctorTanglewood Puppets recently visited Proctor School with their production of Perseus and Medusa. Students in grades three through five were captivated by the beautifully, hand-crafted marionettes, hand painted 50 yard long scrolling backdrop, and music that was used to tell the story.

The show was presented by marionettists Peter Schaefer and Jennifer Tebo in full view so the audience was able to actually see the mechanics of the puppet manipulation. Schaefer and his wife Anne Ware started the business in 1993, but puppetry and theater was something that Schaefer has been exposed to all his life.

The company is based in New England but it has performed at venues as far away as Utah. Currently offering seven different shows, learning to work the puppets in coordination with the scenery and pre-recorded story takes a lot of rehearsal time according to Tebo. “You learn one show at a time,” she said.

Schaefer commented that to create one marionette “can take anywhere from two weeks to two months, all depending on the complexity of the details. The more elaborate ones will take more time.”

Principal Margaret Donohoe commented that this particular show also coincides with a Mythology Program that is currently being offered after school.

Black Out Bullying Day: was one of many schools in the state that participated in Governor Deval Patrick’s Black Out Bullying, No Name Calling Day on Jan. 25. Although anti bullying has been discussed on many levels at all grade levels throughout the school year, the designated day was to be a state-wide awareness day. Students and staff were encouraged to wear black to show their commitment to anti-bullying.

Teachers at Lincoln incorporated discussions, books, and activities in their classrooms throughout the day. First grade teacher Jean Frazier discussed Martin Luther King Jr., Acts of Kindness and how to make the world a better place. Her class has a Gifts of Kindness box so when someone in the class does a nice deed, they put a note in the box and then all notes are read at a later time.

Fourth grade teacher Michelle Vulcano held a greeting circle in the morning where each student chose another classmate, with the roll of a dice, and gave that classmate a compliment. After a few tries, Vulcano asked, “What happens when we are complimented?” Everyone agreed that compliments made them feel good and were a positive thing to hear.

Lincoln School continues to promote positive behaviors with their Kids Character Club. School Psychologist Lisa Arpino explained that each month has a theme of a positive action, and when any building staff witnesses a student carrying out that theme or doing a good deed, they receive a certificate and a coin stating “I’ve been caught being good” and the student’s name is added to the board.  January’s theme is Compassion. The emphasis is on what you can and should be doing to promote a positive environment at school.

Get Up and Get Moving: That is the motto of Principal Susan Whitten, who has implemented many fitness initiatives at the school in the last few years. The most recent event was a Slush and Snow Walk or Bike to School Day on Jan. 20. Snow and slush is what they had on that date, while 34 students participated and were rewarded with hot chocolate donated by Dunkin Donuts.

Zeh Drama Club: This is the first year that there is an after school Drama Club for Zeh students in grades first through fifth. There was such an huge interest, almost 60 kids, that the group had to be split into two sessions. Under the direction of music teacher Allyn Phelps and first grade teacher Tracey Loconto, the first session started in November and the show will debut next month. The second session will meet March through May. The production is “The One Hundred Year Snooze,” chosen because it is geared towards a younger audience.

The group meets once a week and can participate for a small fee, basically to cover the cost of gaining rights to the script.

Other staff members and parent volunteers are assisting with rehearsals, costumes and scenery.

This column highlights some of the schools’ many special programs, speakers, events, and community service projects. If you are aware of a program that you would like featured in this column, please email Liz Nolan at lizard211@gmail.com.

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