This is a great time of year at Parker Middle School. The first quarter is complete; Report Cards were posted to Edline on November 12th. Our seventh trip to Nature’s Classroom trip in the Berkshires has taken place. The French trip to Quebec City is complete and the Veterans Day Assembly held on November 10th and was again a great success. November is a very busy month. We are speeding through the first semester; teachers and students have been working hard, and the Thanksgiving break is well deserved for all. A special thanks to teacher and parent chaperones who made our school trips to Quebec and the Berkshires possible. Thank you!
Our seventh trip to Nature’s Classroom took place November 3rd to the 5th and was again an exciting trip. I made the cut list this year and was able to chaperone; Mrs. O’Connell lucked-out and got to go last year. Each time I attend the NC trip, I learn more about the outdoors and nature and marvel at the experience our students have living in dorms and learning on the heavily wooded property of the Chimney Corners Camp in the Berkshires. Students are challenged to manage their day on a tight schedule of outdoor and enrichments activities.
Meals are a bit of a challenge for some; students learn quickly that there is nothing like a home-cooked meal. I had the good fortune of staying in the Four Seasons Lodge (Upper) where 22 students, myself and my fifth grade son, Joseph, spent the three days and two nights. We didn’t spend a lot of time in the dorm, students were shuttled in and out quickly between activities. The rain and the cold weather presented a bit of a challenge this year but students persevered and made it work, sharing boots and rain gear to stay dry. You can see from the picture below that Charlie Robinson makes good use of a trash bag to stay dry, very fashionable by Nature’s Classroom standards.
This year, 152 students and 11 chaperones made the trip. Participation increases by about eight percent each year. Teachers and staff like the fall trip and really enjoy getting to know the kids outside of school. Special thanks to staff chaperones Ms. Halsey, Ms. Favazza, Mr. Twomey, and Mr. Spinali. As I mentioned above, without parent participation, we would not be able to make this trip, thank you to Mrs. Scouten, Mrs. Powers, Mrs. Lomanno, Mr. Smith, Mr. Walsh and Mr. Bergeron. Thank you!
Veteran’s Day Celebration
I am pleased to report we held our second annual Veteran’s Day Celebration on November 10th. The event was organized by sixth grade Team Leader, Brienne Black and seventh grade ELA teacher Donna Martinson. Mrs. Black, a Parker graduate, is keenly aware of the historical significance of this day. By inviting veterans who are relatives of our current students, members of the community, employees of the Reading Police force and the Reading Public Schools, Mrs. Black and Mrs. Martinson created a unique way for students to connect with, learn about and understand Veterans Day. Our goal was to create an event for students so they could slow down and think about the service and sacrifices that men and women in the armed forces made and are currently making so we can live our lives and follow our dreams here in the United States. Our guest speakers, Dr. Jack Delaney, Mr. Dynan and Mr. Hammond were remarkably effective talking about their experiences and also what the day means to them. Mr. Bedingfield, father of eighth grader Jimmy Bedingfield, read an inspiring poem as part of a stirring speech that summed up the costs of freedom.
THE POEM “IT IS THE SOLDIER”
IT IS THE SOLDIER, NOT THE REPORTER,
WHO HAS GIVEN US FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.
IT IS THE SOLDIER, NOT THE POET,
WHO HAS GIVEN US FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
IT IS THE SOLDIER, NOT THE CAMPUS ORGANIZER,
WHO HAS GIVEN US THE FREEDOM TO DEMONSTRATE.
IT IS THE SOLDER,
WHO SALUTES THE FLAG, WHO
SERVES BENEATH THE FLAG, AND WHOSE COFFIN IS DRAPED BY THE FLAG, WHO ALLOWS THE PROTESTOR TO BURN THE FLAG.
The Veteran’s honored at the celebration were Mr. John Barbati, Mrs. Kelly Bedingfield, Mr. Jim Bedingfield, Mr. Brian Bergeron, Mr. William Brown, Mr. Bill Burditt, Mr. John Demoy, Mr. Robert Dorrington, Mr. Paul Dynan, Mr. Ernest Henry Faust, Mr. Jack Hammond, Mr. Robert Richards, Mr. Corey Santasky and Mr. John Williams.
Mrs. Black and Mrs. Martinson did a terrific job coordinating this event; Mrs. Black worked continuously, sending updates to the program guide right up until the start of the assembly. This was no small task, seeing that Mrs. Black did all this work while on maternity leave. Student masters of ceremonies, Meghan Nelson and Quillen Bradlee did a fine job keeping adults on track. The eighth grade choral performance of the Star Spangled Banner and the playing of Taps by Ryan Friedman were exceptionally executed. The assembly ended with a brilliant slide show put together by Nick Stevens and Mrs. Ropple. The slide show will be accessible through Edline shortly.
Parker held the 35th Annual Turkey Trot to raise money for Turkeys 4 America. The event was organized by teachers and staff to help promote a sense of community and giving among the middle school students. The event has evolved over the years from giving turkeys locally to now making a donation annually to Turkeys 4 America. This organization assists families that need a turkey for the holiday. This year’s winners or the Parker Turkey Trot shown in the above photo are Christina O’Connor, Mike Keogh and Ruthie Wilson. Special thanks to Mr. Hiltz and Mrs. Copeland for keeping this tradition going.
Enjoy the Thanksgiving Break!