Wood County students mark last day of school

PARKERSBURG-Wood County Schools students celebrated the end of school Tuesday with a variety of fun and academic activities.

A long and harsh winter pushed the last day to Tuesday this year and officials said educators and students alike worked until the last bell rang to make sure all of the curriculum had been covered.

Myla Kreinik, school counselor at Hamilton Middle School, said most of the traditional year-end activities, such as cleaning out lockers and turning in text books, occurred last week, as students spent the last few days taking field trips and participating in classroom programs.

However, she said, this year some teachers were teaching and testing right up through the final day.

“There is still learning going on,” Kreinik said. “Some teachers were giving tests (Monday). Everybody is doing their best to play catchup and to make sure the material is covered.”

Doug Jones, principal at McKinley Elementary School, said teachers were trying to make those end-of-year activities both fun and educational.

“We’re actually still finishing up some technology programs,” he said. “We’re doing some review work with students, and then we are doing some fun projects, like arts and crafts.”

McKinley teacher Debbie DeWeese surprised her first-grade intervention class with copies of a book they have been working on during the past several months.

The nine students wrote and illustrated “Scat Cat Scat,” and Tuesday morning autographed each other’s spiral-bound color copies of the book.

“The students wrote this themselves,” she said. “They interviewed staff and visited classrooms. The story is all about the staff here at McKinley.”

McKinley teacher James Ankrom led his fourth-grade class out onto the school’s playground so students could launch homemade rockets using air pressure. The rockets were made from construction paper and tape, and the launcher was a tube hooked up to an empty plastic soda bottle.

When students stomped or jumped onto the bottle, air pressure fired the rockets across the playground.

“The main objective was to get them to understand controls and variables,” Ankrom said. Students began working on the rockets last week, and Ankrom said it was a fun, social project with which to end the year.

“It was a good way to teach them some science,” he said. “It’s fun, but it’s not just a waste of time; it’s a way to learn something as well.”

“We’ve had a great end of year school day,” said Mike Fling, assistant superintendent of school services. “It’s been very uneventful.”

Fling said there were no transportation or other issues on Tuesday, but officials did notice a drop in attendance.

“Attendance has been down because of the end of the school year being extended,” he said. “There were a lot of summer activities and camps that have already started, so we kind of expected that to happen. We just have to deal with it; there is nothing we can do to fix it.”

Fling said central office personnel were busy making sure summer programs, such as Energy Express, were up and ready to go. Maintenance crews also will start their summer projects, he said.

“We’ve been busy making sure everything is ready for this summer,” Fling said.