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Rodeo presented by second grade students and staff at WES

posted May 8, 2019, 3:24 PM by Michael Richards
On April 27th, Wells Elementary School’s second-grade, and multi 1/2 classes presented the school’s annual Rodeo, the culmination of a multidisciplinary unit that combines the core classes of music, physical education, art, library, and technology in studying the settlement of the American West via the famed Oregon Trail.   

Early in the afternoon, 125 students, dressed as western pioneers strutted into the school’s gymnasium and formed a large rectangle around the gym floor.  They were greeted by an estimated 275 parents, siblings, relatives, teachers, and staff who made up the audience.

The program started with a few students reading aloud snippets of information about the arduous journey on the Oregon Trail, the 2,000-mile route over which thousands of pioneers migrated from the Great Plains to fertile territory in Oregon from 1840 to1860. 

Students sang such classics as “Don’t Fence Me In” and performed western folk dancing to other classics as “The Virginia Reel”.  They were later joined in the dancing by audience members.  Then, with the lights dimmed, students and others gathered in a circle on the floor for a sing-a-long to favorites including “Auld Lang Syne.”  The music was performed by music teacher Karen Taylor with Keith Fletcher and Kathy King.  

Student artwork was also part of the Rodeo project adding ambiance to the hallways leading to the gymnasium.  In the lobby, guests were able to view a large western-themed ceramic display created by rodeo participants in the art classroom of teacher Jenna Larochelle-Parry. 

“Each artist had the choice to create a clay character and small detail to contribute to the (ceramic) installation,” commented Larochelle-Parry.  “The display featured sculptures of oxen, horses, Native Americans, pioneer families, and wagons.”

Rodeo organizers included Kathy Calo, Karen Taylor, Jenna Larochelle-Parry and Marty Cryer.  This project involves the school’s “core” teachers coordinating with one another for 12 weeks prior to the Rodeo. WES Principal April Noble praised office staff who managed the large crowd attending.  “The office staff was amazing preparing for the arrival of so many visitors entering the school,” commented Noble.  “They were striving to create a warm welcoming invitation while also being able to…keep with our safety protocols.”     

Rodeo students in action

At far left in the background is Nicole Yandell.  In the foreground with the blue shirt is Diana Johnson with Savannah Dunlap-Woodward at right; just three of the second-grade students to participate in the 2019 Rodeo at Wells Elementary School.  Before leaving, Savannah’s mother Jennifer commented that the “kids had a blast.”  Savannah agreed by adding, “I had a great time.”


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