It was all about celebrating at Cherokee Elementary School in Guntersville this week. On Tuesday, students held a Mardi Gras parade after weeks of preparation, followed by a "house party" to recognize the end of the most recent nine weeks.
Each class at CES began decorating floats–made out of wagons–in their special classes for the last two weeks, leading up to the Fat Tuesday celebration on Feb. 21. Each class had a theme for their float, such as “Masks and Costumes,” “Jesters,” and “Beads.”
Aside from recognizing Mardi Gras, Cherokee principal Julie Ann McCulley was sure to turn the celebration into a teaching moment for students. For the last several weeks, the children learned about the history of Mardi Gras as they built their floats. Alex Sanders’ gifted class (GATE) researched and produced several videos that were sent out schoolwide for teachers to share with their classes.
“The whole idea was for the kids to learn about other parts of our state, connecting the different things that are celebrated through Alabama history,” Mrs. McCulley said.
The project itself gave students the opportunity to learn new skills in research and technology, as well.
“Some of the kids had to learn how to research and print photos, so there were tech skills involved, too,” Mrs. McCulley said. “The kids were learning through technology and building with their hands, using their creativity… they’re pretty amazing when you give them free rein.”
The parade kicked off with the Guntersville High School Jazz Band leading the way, followed by the floats. Grand Marshall Dr. Jason Barnett and Mardi Gras Queen CES counselor Dori Giles brought up the rear of the parade in a decorated golf cart. The parade traveled the length of the car line behind the school from the gym, then turned and came back to the gym.
Students from each class were chosen to ride in and pull the floats, as well as carry decorated signs representing their class, on the big day. Float riders and walkers threw Mardi Gras trinkets–doubloons, babies from King Cakes, Moon Pies and candy–to students lining the parade route.
Once students were situated in the gym, the house party began. House parties take place at Cherokee at the end of each nine weeks in which the entire student body is divided into four houses; red, blue, black and green. The houses send representatives to participate in games in order to earn points for their house. On Tuesday, the black house won two games and the blue house won two games; each team added 20 points to their house total.
After the games, principal Julie Ann McCulley announced Super Citizens, or two students from each homeroom who have exemplified good citizenry, kindness and integrity throughout the nine weeks. Super Citizens recognized this quarter were:
When all was said and done, the entire event, which the CES principal had been planning since last Mardi Gras, was a success.
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