So long school; hello summer

5/23/2014

Third-graders share

Third-graders share

summer plans, say their

goodbyes on last day.

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

As they sat in a circle in their classroom, one of third-grade teacher Shelby Cole's students, Lwe Htoo, got straight to the point about his last day of school at Buffalo Jones Elementary School.

"I'm going to miss everything, and I'm going to do whatever I want this summer," Lwe said.

Buffalo Jones, like every other school in USD 457, was winding down the school year on Thursday, the last day for students.

At the end of the day Thursday, Cole had Lwe and all of his classmates share what they will miss about third grade and what their summer plans are.

After summing up it up so succinctly, Lwe decided to elaborate about his summer plans.

"I'm going to do whatever I want this summer, like play video games, go outside, watch movies, eat, sleep, go to anybody's house — that I know," Lwe said, to which Cole interjected that he definitely shouldn't go to strangers' houses, evoking laughter from her students.

Lwe wasn't finished sharing his plans though.

"And maybe I'll come visit the playground, play some video games, play with my tablet and play with my computer," he said.

Joel Ramos said that he what he will miss about third grade is the classroom, before sharing his own summer plans.

"What I'm going to do this summer is go to the pool, go to the movies — by myself," Joel said, stumping his fellow classmates.

Michael Aguirre replied, "You've got me!"

Aside from going to the movies with Joel, Michael's plan for the summer is to do a lot of swimming, among other things.

"What I'm going to do for the summer is probably go to Six Flags and ride the roller coasters," Michael said.

Esmeralda Corado said she also plans to go to the movies, go swimming, go bowling and go to the park, but that she was very much going to miss her class.

"What I'm going to miss about third grade is all of us, because not all of us will be in the same school. That, and we'll have a different teacher," Esmeralda said.

After all of her students took turns sharing what they will miss, Cole took her turn.

"I'm going to miss all of you guys. I'm going to start crying probably because you guys — it makes me sad," she said.

Mia Ortegon echoed her teacher's sentiments.

"I'm sad that it's the last day of school because I want to spend time with my teacher a lot," Mia said. Cole, who came to Garden City from Arapahoe, Okla., is completing her first year as a teacher and said that it went by really fast.

"But it was really good, and I'm glad Arapahoe, Okla., is completing her first year as a teacher and said that it went by really fast.

"But it was really good, and I'm glad that I was in this school system," Cole said. "At first, it was kind of a bit overwhelming, but I feel like everyone here is very welcoming, and they want to help you and they want you to be successful."

Before saying their goodbyes, the students got to participate in several fun activities throughout the day, including jumping in a bounce house, playing games with a parachute, tug-of-war, water relays and creating works of art with sidewalk chalk.

The kids seemed to enjoy the parachute the most. After they all held the parachute, the kids bounced a soccer ball around. They also played a game called mushroom, where they had to move the parachute in such a way as to make a tent out of it. The favorite was a game called cat and mouse, where one kid played the mouse, by hiding underneath the parachute and trying to avoid detection from the kid who played the cat. Once the cat detected the mouse and tagged him, it was two other kids' turns.

The kids also participated in a water relay in which they carried tubes of water back to a bucket to try to fill it the fastest.

The students participated in another race to see which team could get the most marbles out of a wading pool, using only their toes. Esmeralda helped her team to victory by somehow managing to pick up two marbles at one time.

When asked how she did it, she said, "Sometimes my mom, she makes me pick up little things and that, like our little marbles, and sometimes I kind of get a little lazy, so I pick them up with my feet."

Picking up marbles with her toes wasn't the extent of hers or her classmates' talent. The whole third-grade class performed a dance to Pharrell Williams' song, "Happy," along with Dawn Graham and Kerri Steelman's third-grade classes during the school's talent show competition.

As they rehearsed their act before lunch, Cole gave her class a little motivation.

"We have to set the bar really high. We want everyone else to say, 'Wow. I wish I was as good as the third-grade class,'" she said.

Third-grader Juan Lira said that Buffalo Jones is a great place.

"Because we get to have fun and we try our best," he said.

After rehearsing the dance several times, under the direction of Cole and Graham, the third-graders were the first to take the stage at the talent show, and within 30 seconds of starting their dance routine, they had the whole crowd of students, teachers and parents clapping along with them.

"We just want the kids to have fun with it," Rafaela Solis, principal of Buffalo Jones, said.

Solis said that for her, the last day of school is always bittersweet.

"The kids touch my heart in a lot of ways," Solis said.

Prior to the talent show, Solis told the audience that she feels blessed to be in her position.

"I'm blessed to be here, surrounded by wonderful students that all they want is just a little bit of attention," Solis said. "It's amazing what just a smile or hi will do for our kids. I'm going to miss them tremendously over the summer."

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