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PCES students ‘Jump High for Arts Alive’

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GUILFORD — The arts came to life at Piscataquis Community Elementary School (PCES) during a day that more than one student describes as “the best day of school ever.” Principal Anita Wright describes Arts Alive as “a day that clearly demonstrates why we have the word ‘community’ in our school name.”

The Arts Alive tradition dates back to 1982 and has survived a number of changes in SAD 4 but remains community and volunteer based. This year’s event, held on Friday, June 9, was planned by a committee of staff members and community volunteers and featured local artists sharing their talents and skills. The committee was led by second-grade teacher Lindy Gokas and kindergarten teacher Amy Kelley.

“It’s a day that involves 300 students, the entire school staff and 100 community volunteers,” Wright points out. “It’s one of the ‘big’ days at our school and lots of fun. The day also gives every student an opportunity to explore activities and projects that are diverse and different.”

Each student participated in three different sessions presented by school staff, parent volunteers and community members. The activities range from shaving crème art to drumming to karate.

“Arts Alive is not only a celebration and fun,” Kelley explained, “it also gives every student an opportunity to explore activities they may not be exposed to in everyday life.”

Each student participated in three different sessions presented by school staff, parent volunteers and community members. Some sessions such as cartooning and origami involved traditional art while others such as building birdhouses and etching slate were craft oriented. A third category focused on music and students also participated in sessions involving physical activities such as martial arts and stretch bag movement. With over 30 choices, students took home projects they created and experiences they enjoyed.

“Students don’t always realize they’re learning,” Kelley said. “They stay focused on the fun.”

Wright also notes that the sense of community at PCES becomes very visual during Arts Alive as all participants wear a T-shirt with the Arts Alive logo. This year’s logo was designed by sixth-grader Abby Herrick, using the theme “Jump High for Art Arts Alive.” Sixth-graders selected this year’s colors — blue and gold — and all enjoyed what certainly can be described as a colorful day.

In addition to the many individual volunteers, community businesses and organization contribute. Hardwood Products provides financial support, volunteers to help students build bird house, and volunteers to cook the BBQ for the students’ lunch. School staff, parent volunteers and community members enjoyed a luncheon. The HUGS parent group helped defray the cost of the Dan Grady Marionette show that wrapped up the busy day with more laughter and learning.

One volunteer summarized the day as “amazing for its sheer magnitude and a clear demonstration of what a community can accomplish when we put our hearts and minds to it. The amount of art and craft produced is huge, but what’s more amazing is the potential impact we may have on our children’s lives.”

Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
ARTS COME ALIVE AT PCES — Young carpenters get advice on how to build a bluebird house from volunteer Kurby Roberts during the 2017 Arts Alive event at Piscataquis Community Elementary School in Guilford on June 9.

Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
WOODWORKING — Sixth-grader Samantha Goodwin displays her tree made of tree segments.

Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
SHAVING CREAM ART — PCES second-grader Emma Folsom enjoys creating shaving cream art.

Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
“RHYTHM IS INSIDE YOU” — Music teacher Tom Bennett explains “the rhythm is inside you” during a drumming workshop on June 9.

Photo courtesy of Walter Boomsma
INSPIRATION FOR THE YOUNGER STUDENTS — This year’s Arts Alive at PCES on June 9 started with a visit from Piscataquis Community Secondary School graduating seniors in caps and gowns.

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