Heidemarie Holmes-Heiss and Steve Owens pose outside Calais Elementary. Both are leaving WCSU at the end of the school year. Heidemarie taught art at Calais and EMES 17 years and Steve taught music at Calais Elementary 25 years. (As of July 1 Steve is going to be the principal of the Albany Community School.) Congratulations and we’ll miss you!
Stage 32 presented Cry Baby the Musical April 7-9 at U-32.
Theater has a big role in our elementary schools. Kids love to prepare for and participate in dramatic productions both large and small. Here is a snippet of what’s going on these days.
This is the second year that first and second graders at Calais Elementary have been one of seven Vermont schools invited to collaborate with the ECHO Leahy Center and the Very Merry Theatre Company as part of the Waterways Stage Production. This project based learning experience combines science with drama in a hands-on, student led format. School groups pick an organism to study, and create a play to teach others about their species. This year the theme is threatened /endangered aquatic organisms and students are studying the Eastern Pearlshell Mussel which is the only threatened species in the Calais area. Sarah Adelaide, from the Very Merry Theatre Company is helping students develop, write and practice the play, while ECHO biologist, Nina Ridhibhinyo, teaches them about the greater Lake Champlain Watershed. Calais parent, VT Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Mike Wichrowski first introduced the Calais kids to the Eastern Pearlshell Mussel. Keep Reading
So far, this semester, U-32 Inc, a student-run entrepreneurial experience, has teamed up to create two products. Initially, George Cook’s class began the semester in collaboration with Dave Bazis and the Furniture Design class at U-32. Through a collaborative effort, Bazis’s students instructed Cook’s students in the production phase. Cook said, “I cannot tell you how instrumental they were in the process. Their craftsmanship is fantastic!” In total, the students created 53 cutting boards, each individually unique. No two boards were the same. The prices ranged from $20 to $48. To their surprise, all 53 boards were sold, in less than 80 minutes!
Currently, a “giving” arm of Inc. is being developed and they have introduced #U32daysofgiving. In this endeavor, Cook’s class has teamed up with Nutty Steph’s chocolate shop from Middlesex (VT). Junior Wyatt Mashkuri designed the labels and, working with Nutty Stephs, they purchased 75 bars from her. The group invited all U-32 students to submit recommendations for other individuals in the building to nominate folks who have performed random acts of kindness within the U-32 learning community! Now, the class is awarding the chocolate bars to 32, U-32 students, for being kind! You can check out their instagram feed.
In early November, Stage 32 presented The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, a tale of magical possibilities, the choice between revenge and forgiveness and the powerful healing of love.
Cultural Arts & Educational Exchange
During the week of October 11-14 students and staff from Berlin Elementary School participated in a Nicaragua Meets Vermont Cultural Arts and Education Exchange. Throughout the week 7 Nicaraguan staff from Planting Hope worked with Berlin Elementary staff to provide rich cultural experiences during Allied Arts classes. In Art, students painted with coffee to create unique expressions of Vermont and Nicaraguan life. In Music, students engaged in traditional songs, movement, drumming and music. In PE, students learned customary dances of Nicaragua. In Guidance, students learned Spanish vocabulary.
On Friday evening community members were treated to a culminating event where students and staff presented their learning from the week. There were colorful costumes, songs, dances, whole group movement, an art show, coffee and a fruit dessert. The PTNA sponsored the week-long event. Berlin teacher Cindy Gauthier said “We are so grateful for the Planting Hope staff who provided an experience that has left our community wiser about life in Nicaragua.” Gauthier traveled to Nicaragua