In addition to taking part in music, art, forensics, and movement activities at Marion Elementary School’s annual Fine Arts Day, students also attended firearms safety presentation on Friday.
The event started with a school assembly in the elementary gymnasium in which local violinmaker Mark Wilcox spoke to and performed for students and faculty after an introduction by music teacher and event organizer Anita Hancock.
Wilcox played a number of traditional Irish tunes, several classical songs, and “Take Five,” by Dave Brubeck. However, children’s song “Pop Goes the Weasel” sent whispers and giggles through the crowd when he announced its title.
For the music portion of the event, Wilcox also described how he creates his violins to several smaller groups of students.
For the art portion, high school art teacher Janessa Wood brought advanced art students Alicia Maloney, Noelle Gullick, Sarah Tajchman, Alli Boyd, Tori Boyd, Miran Stephenson, and Sam Davies along to show elementary students what artwork they had created this year.
High school students also assisted elementary art teacher Danielle Lange in showing younger students how to create textures using ‘tangle patterns’.
“Kids love to doodle, it helps teach them patterns,” Lange said. “The use of patterns is for learning things like math. In a way they are learning without knowing it.”
High school forensics coach Janet Killough also brought high school forensics team members Nick Meyer, Justin Terrel, Amanda Stuchlik, Quinton Hett, Jacob Baldwin, and Zac Robson along to perform a number of different skits and stories for elementary students.
During their performances, forensics students pulled both students and teachers from the crowd and invited them to perform too.
For the movement portion of the day, physical education teacher Nicki Case led students through a variety of dances.
She dimmed the lights in the gym and used a projector to show instructional dance videos.
“If you count when they count sometimes it helps you to remember what to do,” Case told students during a remix of “Jingle Bells”.
Principal Justin Wasmuth said the decision to add firearms safety to the schedule was because he wanted to change up the pace and add some more informational segments.
By combining two seemingly unrelated events, he said he hoped to minimize disruptions to students’ regular schedule since they had already missed classes during the week due to snow.
Assistant police chief Clinton Jeffrey said all the materials for the presentation were supplied free of charge by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, including the videos kids watched and the gunlocks each student received to help raise awareness about proper firearm safety.
St. Luke Hospital chief nursing officer Jeremy Ensey also helped with the presentation. He said kindergarten through third grade students covered different material than fourth through sixth grade students.
However, both groups explored the idea of what they should do if they find a gun.
The younger students watched a “McGruff the Crime Dog” video while older students watched a video that highlighted responsible and irresponsible decision making in the presence of a firearm.
Students were also given a “Project ChildSafe Pledge” that highlighted major points presenters spoke on.