Purdy Summer School students explore adventure

Saturday, July 8, 2017
Purdy Summer School community builders, hard at work. Pictured, from left, are: Marlene Villa, Ashlie Estrada, Miranda Garcia, Eryn Schlessman and Brandon Funkhouser, Summer School teacher assistant. Contributed photo

Dinosaurs, community service undertaken

Purdy R-2 School District concluded its kindergarten through sixth grade summer session on June 21, averaging approximately 150 students per day.

This year’s theme, Dino Discovery, offered students the opportunity to step into the shoes of paleontologists, as they explored dinosaur types, behaviors, habitats, diets and more.

Second grade Summer School student Shelbie Patterson poses in front of her class’s T-Rex, made of toilet paper tubes. Contributed photo

Retiring veteran teacher Linda Patton once again took the helm of the district’s technology-centered Summer School section, iSchool. Patton led her third through sixth grade students in an exploration of drone and droid programming.

On their final day of class the students enjoyed a drone demonstration by local drone enthusiast Mark Jackson and his daughter, Marley. Under Jackson’s guidance the drone captured several aerial images of the school campus and the Purdy community.

New to the district’s summer program this year was the Community Builders program, headed by Melissa Horn. Fifth and sixth grade students participating in the program selected, designed and carried out a series of community service projects, including replacing the Purdy Park’s picnic table tops and benches and power washing the playground equipment.

Purdy Summer School teacher Lacey Nelson is a “Dino-Mite” welcoming students to the first day of summer school atop her very own inflatable dinosaur, setting the stage for a grand adventure. Contributed photo

Students also opted to educate the community about the story behind the park’s military plane through a short video posted online. The project reached the family of Vietnam Prisoner of War and former Purdy native, Edward Estes, in whose honor the plane stands.

Students wound up their project by scraping the peeling paint from the plane’s base and repainting it, covering grafitti.

“I just think it’s really sad that people write and draw on the plane’s base," said fifth grader Quincy Hartwigsen. "I bet if they knew what it represented they would respect it and keep it nice.”

Horn’s Community Builders also enjoyed hearing from several guest speakers during their session, including Purdy Mayor Bo Prock, Missouri National Guard Recruiter Terry Billingsley, Recycling Coordinator Clint Dillow and retired Purdy teacher Gerry Wass, who oversaw the establishment of the school’s recycling program. Members of the Purdy Fire Protection District also lent their services to the group’s playground power washing project.

Summer School Administrator Debbie Shelton, known to students as “Dino Debbie,” summed up the four week adventure.

“This year’s summer school program was highly successful, thanks in large part to our dedicated teachers and support staff and our eager and well-behaved student body," Shelton said. "The kids had a lot of fun learning about dinosaurs, robotics and community service. We also enjoyed an end-of-session celebration at the Monett Plaza 8 movie theatre, where we watched the recently released 'Cars 3.' It was the perfect ending to a wonderful summer school session.”