At Centennial Middle School, every student learns about community service.
On Friday, that learning took place at the People’s Place, a daytime center for the developmentally disabled, operated by the ARC of Spokane.
The seventh-graders in Dale McDaniel’s advisory class threw a party, complete with bingo, games of Go Fish and cupcakes.
Some of the activities were low key.
“Hi, my name’s Justin Nagel. Would you like to color a picture?”
Justin’s first try drew no response; Morris preferred to play pool. The second man he approached, though, seemed delighted to sit down and color.
Jordan DeWolf sat on a sofa, reading a child’s story. The man and woman who sat on either side were old enough to be her parents. They followed the story avidly.
Jordan transferred to Centennial this year.
“I’ve never heard of a school doing this before. I think it’s neat - meeting real-life people, not just reading about it in the newspapers,” Jordan said.
Bouncing between each group was Delta, an energetic woman of about 30.
It wasn’t clear just how Delta kept capturing more candy bars.
But she did. And every candy bar she won, every football card she clasped, was cause for her to celebrate with a happy moan.
“Hi, Delta,” said Jordan. “You won a bunch of prizes.”
Teacher McDaniel finally called the halt to Delta’s binge.
“No more candy bars for Delta. OK, guys? She’s on about her fifth one.”
Sometimes awkwardly, always kindly, the youngsters helped with each activity.
Eric Meland, Austin Miller and Jeff Wallace patiently played Go Fish - partly with each other, partly helping the regulars.
Jonathan Nelson called bingo combinations to a full table of players.
This is the first time this year’s seventh graders have been to the ARC. But People’s Place activities specialist Phyllis Ells has seen the Centennial students come for five years.
They’re wonderful kids, she says.
Four times a year, Centennial students come and hold a party. Between them, and one class at Gonzaga Prep, those are the only students who come to People’s Place on a regular basis, she says.
It seems so little.
And yet, once the school bus pulls up, once McDaniel says “OK, Centennial kids, we’re ready to go,” once the kids filter out the front door back to their familiar world - the place changes. It deflates, somehow.
The same activities go on. The pool. The bingo. The coloring. But the voices are flatter. The movements are slower.
And Delta isn’t caroling her latest candy bar coup.
McDaniel says he usually answers a lot of questions from the seventh-graders after a trip to the ARC. Questions about Down’s syndrome, Tourette’s syndrome, cerebral palsy, disabilities that stem from head injuries.
He talks with the students beforehand, too.
“I think it’s important for them to understand about the responsiblities of a volunteer, what makes a volunteer special,” McDaniel said. He also explains about the importance of confidentiality and how to treat a disabled individual.
“Some of kids are a little apprehensive. But we want to make sure they understand how important their work is.”
EVHS craft sale
A two-day craft fair will be held at East Valley High School this weekend.
The event includes more than 30 booths and will benefit the school’s Senior All-Knighter next spring.
“It is an excellent place to begin your Christmas shopping,” said organizer Judy McCarty.
The All-Knighter is a drug- and alcohol-free celebration for graduating seniors.
CV cheerleaders honored
Central Valley High School cheerleaders Jaren Tichy, a junior, and Brittany Beasley-Davis, a senior, have been chosen to go to London and march in the New Years Day parade.
In all, 1,500 American cheerleaders are chosen for this honor.
The two tried out for the special performance in August during a cheer camp at Eastern Washington University.
They’ll travel to London the day after Christmas.
Gonzaga Prep scholars
Matt Jenkins, a Gonzaga Prep senior, has been named a National Merit semi-finalist. David Cannon, also from Gonzaga Prep, has been named a commended student. Both students attended East Valley schools before entering G-Prep.
Oops, the wrong Simpson
Brenda Simpson, physical education teacher from North Pines Junior High School, was misidentified in last week’s Education Notebook.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: The Education Notebook is the spot the Valley Voice devotes to telling our community about students’ accomplishments, about learning in classrooms across the Valley. Teachers or parents whose students have earned honors, feel free to toot your horn. Contact Marny Lombard at the Valley Voice, 13208 E. Sprague, Spokane, WA 99216. Call: 927-2166. Fax: 927-2175. E-mail: MarnyL@spokesman.com
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.