Despite classes being out, schools mark historic event
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on January 18, 2009 2:00 AM
Muriel Wright, right, literacy coach at Mount Olive Middle School, reads "Barack," by Jonah Winter, to a class last week.
County schools are not in session through Wednesday, meaning students will miss out on classroom discussions of Martin Luther King Day and the presidential inauguration.
Educators are keenly aware of the two events' significance, though, and have structured activities around the days off.
At Meadow Lane Elementary School, for example, all fourth-grade students will be required to watch the inauguration and write a summary of the event.
Students in Christy Spell's second-grade class have been assigned to write an autobiography, sharing what kind of president they would be. They also will create menus for the inaugural dinner and learn about proper manners for a special occasion.
At Brogden Middle School, teachers are working hard to integrate the inaugural theme into their lesson planning.
According to Principal Karen Wellington, teachers are using a variety of resources and have made "Believe, Achieve, Succeed" buzz words that will be heard around the school the remainder of the year. Commemorative bookmarks bearing that motto, backed with a synopsis about Obama, also will be given out.
Leading up to the event, Eastern Wayne Elementary School students participated in several activities this past week.
Student Council members assisted Principal Beverly Smith with morning announcements on Friday, highlighting the historical aspects of the inauguration.
Third-grade students also completed election booklets and wrote letters to President-elect Barack Obama, while other classes held discussions about the event.
School Street Elementary School combined Martin Luther King Day and the inauguration in its list of activities.
Schoolwide, each day a third-grader shared information about King, while posters adorned hallways featuring both King and Obama. Videos and books about King were featured in the school's library, and inauguration pencils and bookmarks were distributed, with educational activity booklets created by students.
Many classes also wrote letters to the new president, said Christy Haley, reading coach at the school, wishing him luck and congratulating him.
At Norwayne Middle School students recently completed a unit on chronological order, and will create a timeline of events that will occur inauguration day, said Principal Mario Re.
One teacher also plans to use a trivia quiz, while others will use poetry writing and drawings as they put the events in sequential order. Additionally there will be contests, a scavenger hunt and discussions about past inaugurations.
At Carver Elementary School in Mount Olive, the library last week focused its lessons for third through fifth grades on the historic North Carolina gubernatorial and U.S. presidential inaugurations.
Fifth graders also have made up a song verse about Obama that will be included in their music books, which, said Debbie Ogburn, principal, goes something like this:
"The first African American to be elected president. He had a dream and didn't give up, now DC's his residence. His two children and his wife, now have a new life. He's bringing hope to America, by relieving our financial strife."
Schoolwide, she added, Carver will be adopting Obama's slogan, "Yes, we can!" for the rest of the school year.
As literacy coach at Mount Olive Middle School, Muriel Wright took the opportumity to read a story paralleling Obama's journey to the presidency, along with the story of Dr. King, including his famous "I Have a Dream" speech.
Students also were given an inaugural viewing guide to complete at home while watching the event. Three students from each grade will be selected to attend a roundtable discussion about the inauguration at Pizza Village in Mount Olive, she said.
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