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MES students make new friends, build community feeling

by Joyce Hollister

Students roamed the front lawns at Minden Elementary School at lunchtime on Thursday, looking for people they didn’t know.

The students held a picnic lunch and during that time were to try to make five new friends.

Following up on the MES theme for the 1999-2000 school year, the students were taking part in “community-building” activities.

After lunch, they played games on the playground and playing field behind the school.

Among the activities was a hula hoop game, where teacher Sandy Cooke played a tambourine while students walked, musical chairs-style, around two hoops laid on the ground. When she stopped playing the music, the students tried to see how many kids could fit inside the hoops.

Another game started with students standing in a circle. One was picked by a teacher to start off the game. This student ran toward another student standing in the circle, saying, “I love you, honey,” and trying to make the student laugh.

The second student was required to say, “I love you, too, but I’m not allowed to smile,” three times without laughing. If the student laughed, it was his or her turn inside the circle.

Dep. Jennie Hill, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office DARE officer, had lunch with the students and chatted with them.

Toward the end of lunch recess, the students and teachers formed a big circle.

Principal Klaire Pirtle said later that the activity exceeded expectations.

“It was wonderful,” she said. “The students really got to know each other. When students know each other, they help one another. There won’t be problems on the playground.”

“Building community” is the theme for the year, and activities that carry out the theme are also held in the various classrooms and conducted by the teachers.

“Students are learning together and fostering community and taking care of each other,” Pirtle said. “To me, that’s what it’s all about.”