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Jurassic Joe and his helper perform the first card trick.
It was a sunny summer morning in Windham’s Griffin Park when Mad Scientist Jurassic Joe took the stage. As he prepared his tools, a small voice called out, “Hey Mister. Do you have an oven? You’re smoking.”
“No, I’m not cooking. I don’t have an oven, and what you see is Mad Science,” was the quick, happy reply.
Mad Science Special Events are spectacular science-themed shows designed to amaze and entertain young audiences of any size. Children can conjure foggy, dry, ice storms, float on a Mad Science hovercraft, watch a foam factory at work, create super bouncy balls, make magic mud, alter sound waves, and stretch their imaginations.
At Griffin Park, children and parents sat on blankets in the shade and watched Jurassic Joe with watchful eyes. Wearing a white lab coat over his shorts, and with his safety glasses pushed up on his head, Jurassic Joe immediately engaged his audience and, once engaged, he never let them go.
“Do you know the difference between a magician and a scientist?” he asked his audience. No one guessed so he told them that the difference was that a magician wows his audience with tricks but wouldn’t show his audience how to do the tricks, and that a scientist wanted to show his audience.
Mad Science entertained children of all ages with exciting, high-energy, interactive tricks that kept all eyes glued to the stage to see what would happen next.
Jurassic Joe opened with a hokey card trick that had his audience screaming out what he’d done wrong. With the help of his first volunteer, a real card trick was soon underway. To the amazement of the audience, Jurassic Joe first burned the chosen card and then magically managed to resurrect it again. “Hey, how’d you do that?” yelped his young helper. “I saw that card burn!”
Mixing a smidgen of magic with a lot of scientific facts, Jurassic Joe was teaching his audience about the universe and how things interact.
Who knew that objects could float through columns of air? Hey, what makes that water glow with that eerie green color?
Trick after trick had an interesting and scientific explanation. Jurassic Joe’s pleasant manner and engaging way of explaining each and every event that he presented brought forth giggles, as well as oohs and ahhs.
The event was another in a series of good family fun that has been offered through Windham’s Recreation Program under the watchful eye of Recreation Director Cheryl Haas. Once again she found an entertaining way to not only pass a pleasant summer morning, but to also teach some science.
The audience sits in rapt attention.
An intrigued audience member.
The young readers of Windham read over 6,000 books in 8 weeks … that’s huge!
The Nesmith Library, Windham, hosted an end of the Summer Reading Program party for those involved with their Reading Road Trip USA on the grounds of the Nesmith Library. Hundreds of readers, from infants to grandparents were present to listen to the wonderful music of Tom Stankus, more commonly known as T-Bone, enter an array of raffles, as well as participate in the build-your-own ice cream sundae that was sponsored by Friends of the Windham Library.
The outdoor party marked the end of the Nesmith’s Summer Reading Program. In just eight short summer weeks, 400 readers logged thousands of reading hours as they read over 6000 books. Reading Road Trip USA encouraged children to check books out of the library go, online, and visit the library to read their books. Books as large as the Harry Potter series, as well as child picture books, were read by reading enthusiasts of all ages.
Supporting the Nesmith Library are 30 volunteers who logged 226 hours of volunteer work. Volunteers read to children, participated in the weekly activities of the library, and help maintain the stacks of children’s books at the library.
Volunteers also assisted children as they made road signs, license plates, and posters displaying the places they visited across the USA as they read their books. Each child maintained a record of the books read because each book read equaled one raffle ticket for the weekly drawings. Prizes were offered to encourage more children to read more books. “Kendall Pond Pizza was one, if not, our largest sponsor for the summer. They donated to us over 20 pizzas,” commented Children’s Librarian Lead Jane McCue.
Self-proclaimed, “America’s Pied Piper” T-Bone musically lead the audience on a road trip across America with musical selections familiar to all. “On the Road Again,” “Rocky Mountain High,” and “Surf City” were only a few of the tunes that got the crowd clapping, dancing, slapping high-fives, and interacting with each other. T-Bone told the children, “I always travel with my best friend, and my best friend is always with me. My best friend is a book. I read them when I am driving the car because I can listen to books on tape that I get from my library. And when I wake up and eat breakfast at a restaurant, I read a book instead of the menu.”
During the summer months, the Nesmith Library sponsored many events. Build-a-Bear Mascot Story Hour for children 3 to 6 years of age, taking children on road trips to neighboring libraries, and the hosting of a Harry Potter trivia contest were only a few of the many popular events. The Girl Scouts also partnered with the Nesmith Library. They conducted story hours for children ages 7 and up. Ronald McDonald also visited the Nesmith Library for a day of magic and reading.
A Road Trip to the Zoo brought wild life animals to the library. Children met face to face a Virginia opossum and African Serval Cat, as well as a 20-foot Python snake. Vehicle Day afforded those who attended the library an up-close and personal look into a fire engine and police car.
As with most organization, the Nesmith Library is extremely thankful to their volunteers and sponsors who have assisted them with their endeavors. Thanks to Mary Behl, Canobie Lake Park, Gourmet Grille, Kendall Pond Pizza, Mt. Washington Railway, The Napoli Group/McDonalds, New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Park Place Bowling Lanes, Partyrama, Santa’s Village, Shaw’s Supermarkets, Six Gun City, Story Land, T-Bones Great American Eatery, Water Country, Whale’s Tales Waterpark, Fisher Cats, Clarke’s Trading Post, and Johnson’s Farm of Windham. The Nesmith Library has been able to offer children and young adults a varied program of both content and quality. As the saying goes, Readers are Leaders and the Nesmith Library is leading the charge to develop our next generation of leaders.
The picnic was a super event! Kids were everywhere.
Windham High School is scheduled to open for students in time for the 2009-10 school year, and preparations for that day have already been ongoing for a long time. Not only do school officials need to deal with all the tasks involved in constructing the $42 million high school, they also have to plan for integrating students into that new facility.
Most high school students in Windham currently attend Salem High School on a tuition basis. A few also attend private schools or Pinkerton Academy in Derry. Then there are the younger ones, the students who will be entering their freshman year at the new Windham High School after graduating from Windham Middle School in the spring of 2009.
The goal of school administrators and parent volunteers is to make sure the transition is as pleasant and easy as possible for all of these students.
Stephanie Nelson Wimmer and Jeff Bostic, both members of the high school integration committee, met with Windham School Board members during their meeting on Tuesday, August 7.
Wimmer told board members that integration committee members have spent the last year researching a handful of issues pertaining to the new high school implementation. She said one of the major topics handled by the committee is a plan for transition.
“A transition team needs to be established,” Wimmer said, “one that will work to keep both the community-at-large and the students involved and informed about the process.” “Eventually, she said, tours of the new facility, open houses, and a website will be used to inform residents of progress being made.”
Wimmer said it's important to assure the visibility of new staff members and administrators ahead of time, to help students and their parents acclimate more quickly.
Plans also include developing alternative educational opportunities for certain students, ones that do better learning outside the traditional classroom setting. Virtual learning online was one of those opportunities mentioned by Wimmer.
Also included in transition plans will be the creation of spirit and booster clubs for the high school. "We want to create opportunities to celebrate the new high school in advance of its opening," Wimmer said.
Newly appointed school Superintendent Franklin Bass said he feels students will not suffer by leaving other area high schools and becoming a part of Windham High School. "All these kids will gain immeasurably by coming back to Windham," Dr. Bass said. "They won't lose anything when they leave Salem High School," whether they're juniors, seniors, or sophomores,” he said.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, at least in the minds of parents all over town. Kids will be starting school again shortly, and there will be several new faces at Pelham schools.
At Pelham Elementary School (PES), Natalie Dickinson is coming on board as a media generalist. Ms. Dickinson graduated from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in education and in library science and elementary education. She has worked as an assistant librarian and an eighth grade remedial reading tutor at Pelham Memorial School for the past year.
Rebecca Cummings is a new fifth grade teacher at PES. She received her master’s degree in education with honors from Rivier College, and she has a bachelor’s in English and child study from Tufts University. Ms. Cummings has a diverse work history that includes working as a potter/painter at Salt Marsh Pottery in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, and a copywriter at WCTK/WNBH in New Bedford.
Jennifer Loven is joining the staff at Pelham Memorial School (PMS) as a half-time Spanish teacher. She has spent the past several years as an art teacher in Lebanon and Grantham, New Hampshire. Ms. Loven received her bachelor’s degree from University of New Hampshire, an education art K-12 certification from Virginia State, and her master’s degree/Spanish certification from Plymouth State University.
In the March town election, voters also approved a new special education position at PMS. Deborah Dalton has many years of experience as a special education teacher, most recently teaching at East Derry Memorial Elementary School. She received a dual bachelor’s degree in elementary/special education and English from Keene State College. She has attended numerous workshops and special training sessions related to the needs of special education students.
PMS is also gaining an experienced physical education teacher. Jennifer Jaquith has served as “phys-ed” teacher for Deerfield Community School, Oxford High School, Broken Ground Elementary School, and Rundlett Middle School. She received her bachelor’s degree in physical education from Plymouth State College, with a dual option in teaching and athletic training. Ms. Jaquith has always been involved in her community and served as the coordinator for the 50th Annual Peanut Carnival in 2004.
The new math/science teacher at PMS is going to need some warmer clothing. Barton Stegman comes to Pelham from Lakeside, Arizona. He has five years of experience teaching seventh and eighth grade math and science — life science, Earth science, biology, physical science, and elective courses in wildlife biology and art. Mr. Stegman received his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and a BS in wildlife biology from New Mexico State University.
Amanda King is a new English teacher at Pelham High School (PHS). She received her bachelor’s degree in English with a teacher certification from Keene State College. She was selected to present her essay “Thoreau’s Perception of the Irish” at the 2006 Academic Excellence Conference.
Lance Novak is also joining the English Department at PHS. He has a master’s degree in secondary English education, highly qualified, from Southern New Hampshire University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Montana State University. Mr. Novak spent the past semester as a student teacher at Pennichuck Middle School. In 2006, he created and delivered a formal presentation about Edith Wharton at Nashua North High School.
For the past 20 years, Patricia Bonaventura has served as an associate scientist and a quality control supervisor and engineer at Bausch & Lomb. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and biomedical technology from Adelphi University in New York, a bachelor’s degree in general studies with a concentration in science and an MBA in leadership from Franklin Pierce College. She joins PHS as a new science teacher.
Steven Durrance is teaching social studies at PHS this year. He received his master’s degree in teaching, secondary social science education from the University of South Florida and his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies – social sciences from Florida Gulf Coast University. Mr. Durrance has experience as a summer school instructor, paraprofessional, and a coach. In 1999, he was named a WMUR-Channel 9 Sports Hometown Hero.
A former merchandising manager for L.L. Bean, Jane Martin is also joining PHS. She has worked for the past two years at Londonderry High School as a special education paraprofessional. She received a bachelor’s degree in consumer sciences from the University of Maine, and a master’s degree in special studies from George Washington University. She is currently enrolled in a special education certification program at Rivier College.
Amy Basso will also be teaching English. For the past three years, she has been an English teacher in Salem. Ms. Basso has both a master’s degree from Rivier College and a bachelor’s degree from Plymouth State University in English. In her free time, she enjoys running, skiing, field hockey, and film analysis.
Finally, James Chandler, Jr., is the new music teacher at PHS. For over 25 years, Mr. Chandler was a Thomas’ English Muffins/Arnold Bakers Operator and Franchisee. He holds a master’s degree of education, curriculum, and instruction from Keene State College. Mr. Chandler is an antique car enthusiast and owns a 1923 Model T “Woody” Depot Hack.
Welcome to all the new teachers in Pelham and best wishes for a great school year.