TUBA CITY -- Summer enrichment means many things and for the Eagle's Nest Intermediate School students in Tuba City District who participated in this year's activity the first two weeks of June, which focused on the study of Ancient Rome, Greece and Africa. Students also experienced art internships by several native and non-native artists in residence.
Another feature was having one of Eagle's Nest own students, Kenard Dillon who recently was awarded the "Superintendent's Awards for Academic Excellence" help assist in the classroom activities as a "co-instructor" since he has studied so much both the Greek and Roman cultures. Dillon ran the "mini-Olympics" for the ENIS summer students.
Dillon worked with his fellow students in re-creating the Olympic Opening Ceremonies with a mini Procession of Flags. The students held an Olympic event everyday including the javelin toss, chariot races, broad and long jumps, arm wrestling, and a torch run relay race.
The two-weekend close also had a Procession of Victors and Presentation of Wreaths for local ENIS "Olympians."
Several artists came into the classrooms to speak and assist students in art enrichment activities.
This included, Zarco Guerrero who spent an entire week at ENIS performing and creating masks for an end of the week play that featured student thespians in a parent play-lunch date.
Zarco's mask characters sent positive and thoughtful messages to the student participants and their parent-community audience about being an individual in a copycat world. There were also anti-smoking and anti-drinking messages in the play.
The masks that the students made with Zarco's direction, were made from the same material that doctors use to make castings for broken bones.
The final play the students presented with their completed masks were performed on a brand new "stage" that was funded by the Coconino County and Museum of Northern Arizona, the same grant that funded Zarco.
The Africa study portion included two local teachers, Craig Bowie who taught the students African chanting and drumming. Also, Oluwemisi Agbibi who is a local teacher in Tuba City, taught the students some traditional African cooking using coconut, peanuts, hot buns, breads and a special rice and meat dish.
Hopi culture was not left out, with Ruben Saufkie from Second Mesa, Shungopavi Village working with the students on traditional jewelry making. He had ENIS students design ideas from each of their varied cultures and he made the designs into pendants for the students to wear.
Each student participant got a silver pendant so they could see the process of jewelry making up close. There was much "oohing and aahing "over the cutting and polishing that each piece took. Saufkie also brought in his own traditional Hopi dance group who performed a Hopi Corn dance for the parents and students.
Mansel Nelson, who is Navajo and an engineer and environmental educator who works with Northern Arizona University, came for a full day of math instruction for the ENIS enrichment program.
Nelson used a concept called "Family Math" and the students had so much fun, they didn't want him to leave. As a final treat, the ENIS students went to visit his program at NAU for a learning field trip.
The ENIS enrichment students learned about Global Positioning Systems with Nelson, learning cartography, how to make their own maps and elementary theories of trigonometry to measure the height of trees on the north campus of NAU in Flagstaff.
Nelson also arranged for special raffle of great prizes from NAU for the ENIS enrichment students.
Students who participated in the ENIS Enrichment summer program had a final treat of walking downtown Flagstaff and eating at Pasto Italian Restaurant and Pesto Brothers Piazza.
One student remarked about the overall success of the ENIS program by saying, "I've been to summer school before but it was never as cool as this !!"
For more information about Eagle's Nest Intermediate School in Tuba City District, call ENIS at 928-283-1043 and ask for Principal Sloan-Carter, or call the Tuba City District Office of Public Relations at 928-283-1072.
(Rosanda Suetopka Thayer is Public Relations Director for Tuba City Unified School District.)