The Flying Classroom truly made a memorable impression on the students of Elkin City Schools, as was evident by reflections shared with the school board Monday.
Elkin Middle School English teacher Shannon Swaim took time during the Good News portion of the agenda to share some of the students’ words and impressions of the day.
“Student reflection is really important, especially in middle school,” said Swaim. “I asked our students to reflect — some wrote about the plane, some wrote they wished they were up there flying.”
Other students mentioned they didn’t even know Elkin had an airport. She said they loved the stories by Capt. Barrington Irving, the visiting pilot, about dumpster diving, snake poison and eating exotic food.
“The common theme was the attitude of gratitude the students had,” Swaim said.
She read several students’ journal entries sharing messaged like “the opportunity felt like an experience that will be forever close to my heart,” and how Irving challenged the students, how his story inspired them to never give up.
“What a spirit of gratitude they had,” Swaim said. “The next week we all read this book [one written co-authored by Irving], and they got to choose their favorite quote and explain what it meant to them.
“We talked about how so many times we need someone to tell us we can do it,” she said.
Then the middle school students got to hear from Adam Caudle, an Elkin graduate who is now a pilot, and learn his story.
After Swaim’s presentation, EMS Principal Lisa Pendry introduced a foursome of Swaim’s students for another project.
The students explained that Swaim assigned each team in her class to create an advertising campaign to represent the classroom for the year. The team of Lourdes Lopez, Kayte Hall, Alex Nance and Aranza Gutierrez Monday presented their ad campaign, which was voted the best.
They took the words, “Class Norms,” and listed out class norms for each letter, such as celebrate each other’s success, learning from your mistakes, always do your best.
They also created a logo and ad for the class, with two large mountains and the sun shining in between. They explained that the mountains represent the elementary and high schools, which Elkin students stay at longer, and the sun was the growth and time at the middle school. The ad was titled, “Ms. Swain’s Go-Get-Ers,” and the phrase used was, “Great things come in small packages.”
The board spotlights for October’s board of education meeting highlighted the Elkin Middle School Beta Club members who attended a recent leadership summit and the school’s three principals for National Principal Month.
Chandler Beals, Matthew Pelkey, Laura Couch and Margaret Freeman were the Beta members who attended the summit, explained advisor Karen Spencer. Upon arriving at the summit, the team was given a real-world problem to solve, with two days to come up with a solution and present it.
The students explained that their dilemma included a polluted river poisoned with lead.
Spencer said the students met mastery level on the project, which qualified them for the national leadership competition in June in Savannah, Georgia.
Other recognitions during the meeting included:
• Henry Freeman was honored for being selected by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution as a Good Citizen. The award recognizes Freeman’s attributions of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism, and some of his work recognized includes the initiative he takes cleaning up around the school and volunteering for service projects like the school garden.
• Clarence Edwards, Elkin High School teacher, for being awarded a $5,000 grant from Farm Credit Carolina. The grant will provide an on-campus greenhouse, plant orchard and trout project in the classroom through Trout Unlimited.
• Braden Oliver, a sixth-grader at Elkin Elementary School, for creating a video to promote the Flying Classroom event, which included him riding in a friend’s airplane, getting rights to use music and editing the video.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.