Students celebrate last full day of school in Massena | Kidscontent | nny360.com

2022-06-17 01:32:06 By : Ms. Bunny Huang

A few passing clouds. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 63F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph..

A few passing clouds. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. Low 63F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph.

Kindergartners at Jefferson Elementary School in Massena play in bounce houses during the school’s J-Day celebration on Thursday. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Carrie Hill, a basket maker from Akwesasne, left, leads a turtle weaving workshop at Jefferson Elementary School in Massena during J-Day. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Stephanie Allen works with students at Jefferson Elementary School in Massena during a painting and traditional Mohawk language workshop held as part of J-Day. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Jefferson Elementary School students receive instruction on the game of lacrosse from members of 28 Lacrosse during J-Day on Thursday in Massena. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Jefferson Elementary School Principal Duane L. Richards Jr. plays spike ball with students during J-Day on Thursday in Massena. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Jefferson Elementary School students Petal Rowe, left, and Rilee Dimick receive instruction from Robin Logan during a bracelet workshop held as part of J-Day in Massena. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Jefferson Elementary School students with safety goggles are targets while playing water lawn games during J-Day on Thursday in Massena. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Kindergartners at Jefferson Elementary School in Massena play in bounce houses during the school’s J-Day celebration on Thursday. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Carrie Hill, a basket maker from Akwesasne, left, leads a turtle weaving workshop at Jefferson Elementary School in Massena during J-Day. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Stephanie Allen works with students at Jefferson Elementary School in Massena during a painting and traditional Mohawk language workshop held as part of J-Day. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Jefferson Elementary School students receive instruction on the game of lacrosse from members of 28 Lacrosse during J-Day on Thursday in Massena. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Jefferson Elementary School Principal Duane L. Richards Jr. plays spike ball with students during J-Day on Thursday in Massena. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Jefferson Elementary School students Petal Rowe, left, and Rilee Dimick receive instruction from Robin Logan during a bracelet workshop held as part of J-Day in Massena. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

Jefferson Elementary School students with safety goggles are targets while playing water lawn games during J-Day on Thursday in Massena. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Jefferson Elementary School students moved out of the classrooms and into the space surrounding the school to enjoy their annual end-of-year J-Day celebration on Thursday.

“J-Day is the last full day of school every year. This year is a little bit special because we’re almost returned to normal,” Principal Duane L. Richards Jr. said. “It’s extra special. We’ve worked hard. We’ve had gaps that we had to fill in learning and social emotional stuff. J-Day is always special. This is extra special.”

And, he said, “The kids have a lot of energy.”

He said putting together the day’s slate of activities was a concerted effort from many fronts.

“Mrs. (Wendy) Serguson and I put our heads together. We’re lucky this year because Stephanie Allen was able to secure Native American grant funding. So, we have a whole section of Native American choices. There’s three sisters planting, bracelet making, beading, earring making, but there’s also a paint and sip where they’re going to be painting with the Mohawk language,” he said.

In addition, students tried their hands at turtle basket weaving and lacrosse with the 28 Lacrosse group. Native American author Colleen Farwell was on hand to discuss her children’s book, “I Will Carry You.”

The school’s Student Council provided bounce houses that filled the gymnasium. Meanwhile, as the Jefferson Jaguar looked on, the Friends of Jefferson were handing out snow cones, popcorn and sticky tattoos outside as off in the distance students enjoyed activities like a water target game, lawn games from the Nicandri Nature Center and races. The popcorn machine was sponsored by Liberty Utilities.

Students chose which Native American sessions they wanted to attend. Carrie Hill was presenting “On the Back of a Turtle,” an activity that involved creating mini turtles using a basket-weaving technique with sweet grass and black ash.

“You’re going to go under here, and then you’re going to go over the next one like you’re weaving and go back and forth, back and forth,” she said.

Stephanie Allen was leading the Paint and Sip session. She was leading fifth-graders who were painting a large number five. Underneath it was the word, “Wisk,” the Mohawk name for the number five. There was also discussion of the Mohawk culture as the students worked on their projects.

“We had an indigenous language grant. We received the grant in which we were to encourage Mohawk language for our school because we’re next to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe,” Ms. Allen said.

Patti Fisher was leading the “Sisters Garden,” where students planted corn, bean and squash seeds into separate fingers of a rubber glove, and then took them home to wait for them to germinate in about five days and then replant them in either a garden or a container. Ms. Allen said the curriculum was part of the New York Agriculture in the Classroom program, a partnership between Cornell University, the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, the state Education Department, Cornell Cooperative Extension and New York Farm Bureau.

“She’s doing the Three Sisters, in which the corn, beans and squash all depend upon each other in a very small area. They’re doing a real cool thing. I’m doing numbers and language and learning Mohawk words and then bringing into it our culture, and she’s doing the agricultural part,” she said.

“This is a New York state Ag in the Classroom lesson,” Ms. Fisher said.

Robin Logan was leading other students in earring making and bracelet making inside one of the school’s classrooms, Octavia Viskovich from the Nicandri Nature Center was helping students enjoy outdoor games she had brought, and Vaughn Harris from 28 Lacrosse was overseeing the lacrosse history camp. He said the goal was not only to increase interest in lacrosse, but also bring awareness to anti-bullying.

“We go to elementary schools or high schools and just drill the game of lacrosse and have fun, a lot of running and getting the kids active,” he said. “A big reason why we’re doing it is just to grow the game and get the game bigger because it’s a fast game on two feet. Once you get into it and start doing the drills and stuff, I find that kids don’t realize that they’re running because they really get more focused on controlling the ball, their hands and eyes.”

Mr. Harris said they’ve been to communities that haven’t heard of lacrosse.

“We were in Ottawa last week. We did seven schools and totaled 3,000 (kids). We had a pretty busy week last week, and a lot of kids haven’t even heard of lacrosse or even played lacrosse. It was cool for us to be there to grow the game and to see the kids actually enjoying it and wanting to continue to play,” he said.

More information about the organization can be found at https://www.l28acrosse.com/.

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