October 10, 1996 in Washington Voices

High School Students Go Back To Starting Line Special Class Gives At Taste Of Teaching At Elementary Level

By The Spokesman-Review
 

George Veselka’s first triumph is that he manages to fold up his long legs and sit in the tiny chairs that are just right for a kindergartner.

His second is that he uses patience, initiative and imagination to enter the world of 5-year-olds in Lynn Winkler’s classroom at Adams Elementary.

The senior is one of about 26 Central Valley High School students enrolled this fall in a class called Elementary Experience. The class is also offered at University High School.

“I took it when I was in high school,” said Pam Stickney, a CV counselor who graduated from U-Hi. “It made me know I was headed in the right direction.”

One afternoon early this week, Veselka worked with kindergartners learning to recognized letters and write their first name. He used an easy, relaxed manner. And Winkler’s room has an unusual set of props: One wall, up high, is covered with the traditional alphabet, and each letter is accompanied by a toy or miniature. The ‘P’ had a little black piano, the ‘O’ had a great rubber octopus.

For a tyke who didn’t remember right away how to start off an E, Veselka got up and pointed to the elephant-decorated E.

Coaching another boy through the pencil strokes for his name, Vincent, Veselka found a bit of fun with the two ‘N’s. “Up. Now, down like a slide. Now up. Good,” he said.

Veselka grew up the oldest in a family of three boys. He’s pretty sure he’s headed toward teaching elementary students, and he’s found the kindergartners to be fun.

“They care for each other more than grownups do. There’s something about them that I like a lot,” Veselka said.

One assignment for the children was to draw a picture that somehow shows Veselka. The pictures include a sentence or two of explanation, dictated by the youngsters.

One reads: “George is watching me draw a picture of him. George helps me with stuff.”

Another: “George and me were walking along, then there was a volcano under us. It erupted and we flew way up in the sky.”

The class runs two hours a day. For Veselka, the time goes by fast. “It doesn’t even seem like work,” he said.

Winkler chuckled. “It will, when he has all the responsibility,” she said.

She has given Veselka some of that, putting him in charge of the class at times. “George took over for me the other day, making spider hats. And that was sprung on him abruptly.”

Winkler approves of his work.

“He has an A, so far,” she said.

Winner without wheels

West Valley High School student Rose Morris won the right to be the first driver through the Argonne underpass at 9 a.m. on Monday.

Problem is, Morris is a sophomore and too young for a driver’s license.

The high school sold about 1,450 raffle tickets as a fund-raiser.

“We’re going to arrange for a car and someone to drive her through” in the ceremony, said Wayne McKnight, high school activities director.

Calling all EV parents

Any East Valley parents interested in helping create a detailed recommendation for a year-round school should attend a meeting Thursday.

Parents new to the endeavor are invited at 6:30 p.m., at the East Valley High School. Parents already involved in the plan are asked to come at 7 p.m. Sub-committees are getting under way to plan out the calendar, curriculum and staffing for the proposal.

“There’s no pre-conceived plan, nothing hidden,” said Superintendent Chuck Stocker.

About 35 parents came to a September meeting on the proposed year-round program.

Absolutely grand band

The Central Valley High School marching band won first place overall at the Pasco Cavalcade of Bands marching band competition on Saturday in Pasco.

Also, the band triumphed over 21 other high school bands in the following categories: marching, brass, wood winds and general effects.

The band and color-guard will compete in Everett and Vancouver, Wash., later this month.

Pledge against violence

Valley schools participating in today’s National Day of Concern and Student Pledge Against Gun Violence include Greenacres Junior High and Freeman High School.

At Greenacres this week, social studies classes discussed gun violence statistics and state gun laws relating to minors. Students there signed the pledge Monday.

It reads, in part, “I will never bring a gun to school… I will use my influence with my friends to keep them from using guns to settle disputes.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: If you have news about an interesting program or activity at a Valley school or about the achievements of Valley students, teachers or school staff, please let us know. Write: Education notebook, Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175.

If you have news about an interesting program or activity at a Valley school or about the achievements of Valley students, teachers or school staff, please let us know. Write: Education notebook, Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175.

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