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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Just Another Night at the Museum

In the previous post, I explained that education is more effective when the lives of students, parents, and teachers overlap like Venn diagrams. Friday night was just one of the many examples of this at our school.

 [Double-click on photos to enlarge. Kala M.was a WWI nurse.]

Way back in 2002, we had our first Sadie Hawkins Party. These are thematic “costume” events where the girls ask the boys (although, the vast majority of students just go as groups of friends). I remember that first year because Emily asked Keith—five years later they were married. Wow! Some party!

[Hey, that's the nick-name of one of our foreign-exchange senior from Korea, enjoyed her role as Sacagawea. She was one of the  seniors who organized this evening.]

Anyway, the theme that year was true to the original Sadie Hawkins (i.e. L’il Abner) and the kids dressed up as hillbillies. Other themes through the years have included: “Old West,” “Lord of the Rings,” Hoe Down in a Barn,” “South of the Border,” Fifties “Sock Hop,” “Roaring Twenties, “Mystery Dinner Theater, and so on. But this year’s theme, I must say, was pretty clever.

 [Mr. and Mrs. C. were Grant Wood's "American Gothic." I caught myslef singing that old New Country Corn Flakes commercial from 1967.]

It was “A Night at the Museum,” based loosely on the Ben Stiller movies, but some of the kids broadened the concept to wax museums and came as famous people who were not in the movie.

[Mr. and Mrs. W. were Bonnie and Clyde. Grand Haven was the scene of a famous bank robbery in 1934, but it was not Bonnie and Clyde.]

The Senior Class organizes the event, and the details are usually kept secret. They typically start at the school and go from there to an unknown destination. This we booked an actual museum in Grand Haven.

[Mr. and Mrs. S. were lumberjacks.] This area of West Michigan experienced its greatest growth in the late 19th Century lumber boom. Most of the lumber used to rebuild Chicago after the great fire came from West Michigan. There were more great costumed characters than I have photos to show, but all of the students also came in historic costumes.
We called several museums, but most were not too keen on the idea of having 60 high school kids, parents and, teachers take over their historical displays. So we were thrilled when the curator of the Tri-Cities HIstorical Museum okayed the idea.

[David E. ran a 19th Century mercantile clerk.] Each museum character had clues and puzzle pieces that prompted nine teams of students through the whole museum.

The teachers and seniors dressed up as historic people and took our poses before the bus arrived. Once the students arrived, a variety of scavenger hunts and other games began that allowed the posed characters to come to life and join in the fun. I was Teddy Roosevelt.

I painted my beard with cover-up make-up and darkened my mustache. From a distance it looked okay. Up close, it looked weird, but it was fun.

[Ben S. and Mitch N. were Lewis and Clark.]

Three hours later, the curator came back. (Yes, believe it or not they trusted the whole museum to our care. Of course, there were security cameras all over the place, but honestly, the students showed respect throughout the evening and meal.)

One of the adults, said as we were cleaning up and getting ready to leave. “It’s great to see kids who know how to have good clean fun.”

Thank you Tri-Cities Historical Museum!
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