Around the District

Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Parenting tips for times of crisis

The Children's Defense Fund and YMCA of the USA are offering advice for families on how to help children of all ages cope with traumatic events such as those of last week. Following is a selection of their tips:

Filter what you say and what you allow children to view, hear or experience based on the child's age and ability to handle disturbing news.

Continuously reassure your children that you and others will help keep them safe.

Turn off the television and, if your older children are watching the news, be sure to watch and discuss it with them.

Be aware that your children's ages will affect their responses. Adolescents in particular may be hard hit by these kinds of events. Watch for signs of stress or fear that indicate that children are troubled and unable to successfully process information. They may need professional help.

Let children ask questions, talk about what happened and express their feelings. Take your cues from the young person as you enter and expand the conversation.

Give children accurate information and calmly express your emotions.

Be mindful of resisting and confronting prejudice.

Consider how you and your child can help. Children are better able to regain their sense of power and security if they feel they can help in some way.

SoHi unveils community art project

Soldotna High School invites the public to celebrate and view its community-based art project that entailed painting more than 250 sound panels.

This is a "must see to believe and appreciate" art project. Tour through a palette of colors and shapes, but prepare yourself for a visual surprise as you turn around and "review" what you think you have just seen. Look again and all has changed.

High school students throughout the entire Kenai Peninsula, as well as a myriad of community members, have participated in this project.

The celebration and viewing begins at 1 p.m. Saturday with slides and a talk by Margret Hugi-Lewis, the artist who designed this project. Refreshments will follow in the commons at Soldotna High School.

The project was made possible by a grant from the Alaska State Council on the Arts from the Arts in Education program.

Nikiski meeting rescheduled

The Tri-Site Council meeting, involving representatives of Nikiski Middle-Senior High, Nikiski Elementary and North Star Elementary discussing community education plans, has been rescheduled for Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at North Star Elementary School.

Kenai schools plan aid dinner

Parents, teachers and students from the Kenai schools are working together to raise funds for families in New York and Washington, D.C., who have suffered so much. A spaghetti fund-raiser will be held Sept. 29 at Kenai Central High School. Volunteers are needed to help.

For more information, call Kenai Central High, Kenai Middle, Mountain View Elementary or Sears Elementary schools.

Teacher attends biodiversity institute

Sherry Matson, fifth-sixth-grade teacher at North Star Elementary School in Nikiski, was one of 43 education leaders from 19 states and six foreign countries chosen to attend the National Biodiversity Education Leadership Institute.

Sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and Disney's Animal Kingdom, the institute was held at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., Aug. 7-11.

The group of participants included educators from schools, zoos, museums, science centers, conservation organizations and government offices and education curators and directors. Participants were selected for holding active leadership roles in their communities, having a significant interest in biodiversity education initiatives and sharing a passion for the environment.

Matson often takes her students on life-science field trips to learn more about their environment. She has taken students to Hidden Lake, Captain Cook State Park and Kasitsna Bay to study intertidal life.

As part of the institute program, the participants reviewed current issues and trends in biodiversity, conservation and education; enhanced their leadership skills through case studies and communication exercises; and expanded their network for collaboration. The five-day program included small group discussions, interactive exercises, guest speakers and exploration of Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot's Living Seas, and The Nature Conservancy's Disney Wilderness Preserve.

Matson said one highlight of her trip was canoeing on the wilderness preserve lake, a cypress swamp inhabited by colorful ibises; majestic egrets; large, graceful spiders and wary alligators. She took a side trip to Tarpon Springs to learn about the sponge-diving industry, and another to some tiny islands on the Gulf Coast near Fort Meyers with sugary-sand beaches and abundant shells brought in by each pounding wave.

Matson plans to share her experiences with her students, and share her curriculum materials with interested educators, according to a press release from the institute.

Borough student government to meet

The student councils and leadership classes from high schools around the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District will attend the districtwide student council meeting at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School Monday.

Students gather to share student council skills and ideas with their peers from throughout the borough. They will select representatives for the school board, district committees and statewide student functions.

Scholarship offered to student officers

Two Alaska students have an opportunity to receive a $2,000 college scholarship through the U.S. Senate Youth Program. Nov. 2 is the deadline for applications.

The winners also will spend a week in Washington, D.C., in March observing operations of the U.S. Senate and other branches of government. Applications are open only for high school juniors and seniors now serving as an elected officer in their school's student government, on the student council, or as a class officer.

For more information, contact Naomi Obie at (907) 465-8728.

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