celebrate education - brought to you by the amarillo globe-news

History students earn June's Class Act Award - June 2009

Tascosa High School

Sam Houston Middle School students in a high-level American history class this year decided to involve a special-needs class in their learning and found there wasn't much difference in the classes.

"Sometimes people just shy away from them," eighth-grader Whittany Kilpatrick said, "but they are just normal kids like us."

The Pre-AP class has received the June Class Act Award for outstanding achievement in education. The class was awarded a $200 check from the Globe-News' Celebrate Education initiative. After a study on the "repurposing" of products in American history, students then decided to reuse old sofa springs to make Christmas trees.

The "spring" trees were used as decorations at a Christmas party and then given to the students' parents as gifts.

Donna Morehead, who teaches the eighth-grade history class, said she paired two of her students with one in a nearby special-needs class to help in the learning, sanding, painting, and decorating of the trees.

"Her students really worked right alongside my students, laughing and talking with them," said Tammy Bell, teacher of the Adaptive Curriculum class. "This was something that some of my students couldn't have done on their own."

Bell said her students found outside role models through the project. "A lot of students shy away from kids with disabilities and this class didn't," Bell said. "They still high-five each other in the halls, it makes me think there are good kids out there."

Kilpatrick said working with Bell's class was a way for her to meet new people. "I made new friends; I made a new best friend," she said.

Morehead said her class decided to give the money they received for the award to Bell's class to use for learning-activity games, puzzles and books.

"They need more help than we do sometimes and we wanted to give that to them," Kilpatrick said.

calendar of events
  • January 11
    Kickoff of 2009 Program
    Find out what Celebrate Education is all about in this special section in your Sunday paper.
  • March 7
    Regional Spelling Bee, West Texas A&M University
    The annual Regional Spelling Bee will feature the top spellers from the Amarillo area. The top five winners will receive scholarship money ranging from $500 to $5,000 and the winner will travel to Washington, D.C., in June to represent the area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
  • Spring and Fall
    Amarillo Reads community-wide reading projects.
    Dates and details TBA
  • April
    Amarillo Education Matching Grants Program. Exact date TBA
  • April 10
    What's a Kid to Do Special Section
  • April 12
    What's a Kid to Do at the Amarillo Civic Center
    This event will focus on activities and camps for children to participate in during the summer..
  • May 8-29
    Beating the Odds
    A series of stories published daily in the Amarillo Globe-News during the graduation season that profiles people who have inspiring stories to tell about the degree they are about to receive.
  • May 12
    Ready for the Real World program at Amarillo Civic Center
    AISD juniors get training on what's going to face them in a little more than a year.
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Special Section
  • May 16
    Best and Brightest Event at West Texas A&M University
  • Fall
    Discover College Day
    Fifth graders from area schools visit college campuses.
  • October 1
    Great Jobs Special Section
    Focusing on well paying jobs available in the area that people may not know about.
  • November 2
    Career Education Special Section
    Focusing on businesses and others in the community helping young people gain a career vision.
  • November
    Yes You Can Event
    Designed to help people gain information about the next level of education from GED to PhD. Date TBA.
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