Opinion: Gattis’ Spring Fling showcases learning

By Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy
Education columnist

Recently, the opportunity to catch up with Gattis goings-on presented itself. Definitely the highlight was the Gattis Middle School annual “Spring Fling.”

Spring Fling is an evening event to showcase student learning, to involve the community and parents, and to provide a fun opportunity to get together. Over the last few years the event has grown and become more elaborate, as more teachers in all departments have become involved. Each year more volunteers, including teachers, students and community members, have pitched in to help make this a great event. This year was no exception.

Gattis Keyboarding teacher, Rhonda Champouillon described the event: “Our first year was good; the second year was great; and this year was phenomenal! All teachers participated either individually or in groups. Our attendance was around 900 people!”

A wide variety of booths were set up, with wonderfully creative activities, both inside and outside the school. For example, there was a “Pi Walk” where one could indulge one’s math skills. A science-based booth let you “Make Your Own Ice Cream.” All about measurements, the participants used salt, plastic bags, and ingredients, shaken until frozen, after which you could eat this delectable treat. There was the “Physics of Paper Airplanes” where models were set up, and participants could learn about the different ways of building and folding to test aerodynamics.

The Art Department had a beautiful mosaic tile mural that participants could help create. The “Science Circus” had great demos with bubbles and other interesting effects. Part of the “Recording Studio” booth had Maryline and David Bigham playing guitar. The 7th Grade built models of the Harvey House and the 6th Grade had built Utopian projects, which were displayed in the hallway. “Math in the Military” drone exhibit volunteers from Cannon Air Force Base demonstrated the types of mathematics they use.

Other community volunteers who contributed their time were the Clovis and NM state police, Clovis firemen, EMTs, and the Security Task Force from Cannon, who demonstrated trained canine maneuvers. These groups had various stations, such as the “Go-Carts DWI Simulation” obstacle course and more.

Gattis Math teacher, Deborah Davidsen, who’s headed up the event in the past, assembled a committee for this year: Rhonda Champouillon, Stacey Burdett, Catherine Graven, Dawna Beatty, Jan Schuman, and Kim DeFoor.

Gattis’ Spring Fling clearly represented not just a terrifically fun event, but also a uniquely innovative opportunity for showcasing learning.  Well done!

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at cindy.kleynkennedy@clovis-schools.org