The Meneley Mountain Lions shone with pride at last week’s Literacy Fair.
This was the school’s first literacy fair since 2019, and the event was a resounding success with 160 K-5 attendees.
Student entries for the fair can be submitted individually or as a family or class project. The award categories were then broken down by level (K-2 or 3-5) and by genre (fiction or non-fiction).
Literacy fair coordinator and fifth-grade teacher Sherrie Higgins said students were thrilled when it was announced the event would return this year.
“My senior class screamed,” she said, sharing that some of the older students who remembered the literacy fair and missed it during remote learning were eager to participate and be included. younger students who had never experienced the event before.
Students at all grade levels learn story elements throughout the year, and the Literacy Fair offers them the opportunity to creatively create a painting that uniquely expresses what they have. learned from a book of their choice.
Rows of colorful and informative storyboards were displayed in the multi-purpose room last Thursday ahead of the family viewing night and awards ceremony that evening. Nineteen volunteer judges from across the community conducted student interviews and projects were scored on a rubric.
“Positive feedback from judges can really boost self-esteem,” said Higgins, who said students can practice their presentation skills throughout the interview process. “Telling someone else about a book you’re passionate about makes you even more excited,” she said.
Higgins’ favorite subject to teach is English language arts, and she notes the joy and power of connecting with a good book. She discovered her own love of reading through Louisa May Alcott’s book, “Little Women,” which she said she read nine times.
“I’m not a proofreader, but it was such a beautiful escape…once you teach (the joy of reading) kids, it’s the best therapy in the world,” she said.
This year’s Literacy Fair marks the end of an era for Higgins, who is retiring from teaching at the end of June. She spent 37 consecutive years in the classroom and taught at all levels except first grade. All 27 years of his career in the Douglas County School District have been at Meneley.
When she was in college, Higgins briefly considered a career in psychology but changed her mind.
“I was born a teacher,” she said, recalling the leadership role she took on among her siblings growing up. “I was always organizing, facilitating and entertaining…it was a natural transition.”
His years at Meneley are rich in memories. Higgins remembered the school’s many musical productions, in which she took classics such as “Grease” and “Oklahoma” and rewrote them specifically for the school, ensuring that each grade level had a singing part; collaboration with Harrah’s Lake Tahoe on lighting and sound for musical productions; working with the student council on project-based learning and bringing Monty the mascot to school; and help secure funding that allowed the neon sign to be placed in front of Meneley.
Higgins also spent more than two decades participating in the Teacher No-Talent Show, which has been a longstanding tradition at Meneley. Every year, during the last week of school, the teachers get together to put on a show for the students. Those who enter middle school are elevated on stage and serenaded with a special song written just for them. Musical genres in years past have included opera, country, and rock and roll.
Going forward, Higgins’ retirement plan includes spending time with her grandchildren, completing her memoir, camping, boating and travelling. And although she is retiring, the attraction to the classroom remains strong.
“I know I can’t give it up completely; I may be replacing in the near future,” she said. “For now, I’ll just catch my breath.”
Reflecting on her long career, Higgins noted the physical, mental and emotional challenges of the path she chose and said, “It’s a tough profession…but if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing. .”
A smile crossed his face then. “It is also the highest of the top. School was everything to me. You are changing the world one heart at a time; changing the lives of one student at a time… to be part of it, can you imagine anything better? »
Amy Roby can be reached at [email protected]