High heels lift the spirits of ailing principal

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

A bit of ice Monday morning didn’t stop staff members and parents at Evergreen Academy from coming to the school in high-heeled shoes.

The women wore stilettos with their spirits high in hopes of raising the spirits and showing support for school director Chris Lierheimer. Lierheimer has colon cancer and starts chemotherapy today.

For his part, Lierheimer wore a suit coat but no heels. He said he went shopping over the weekend and found a pair of women’s size 12 shoes, but they were still too small.

Everyone in the office was jovial as they wished Lierheimer well. Many were laughing and telling stories about the pain of putting on heels — some for the first time in years.

Some dug shoes out of the back of their closets, one woman bought a pair for $2 on a clearance rack, and others borrowed shoes. Most brought another pair of more comfortable shoes to wear later in the day.

The school was at a loss for what to do to support Lierheimer when he suggested that everyone should wear high heels.

Some of the students got into the spirit by wearing high heels too. Nine-year-old Alex was sporting a pair of his mom’s black heels to help “lift Mr. L’s spirits.”

DeDe Armbruster, who teaches junior kindergarten at Evergreen Academy, summed up the women’s attitude toward wearing heels for a day and supporting Lierheimer.

“He’s the best person I’ve ever worked with in my life, and he has such a great sense of humor,” Armbruster said. “This is a simple way to show him how much we care.”

Students use mock trial to learn about writing

Did Orson Welles try to incite chaos in the United States in 1938 when he aired the radio play “The War of the Worlds,” or was he just an excellent actor staging a really good play?

That question was debated by three seventh-grade language arts classes at Evergreen Middle School last week during mock trials.

The students in Ty Nelson’s classes studied the radio play and its aftermath when the play caused 6 million Americans to panic. They then created arguments to present to a judge and jury. Each class was split in two groups — the prosecution and the defense — and they played roles in the courtroom.

It wasn’t a matter of who won or lost, but how students presented their arguments and used eyewitness accounts to make their points.

The mock trials are tons of fun, Nelson said, but there are many educational pieces involved. Students write scripts including the creation of witnesses to be questioned on the stand. Each year, the students show how inventive they can be.

“Sometimes, they pretend they are Army bomber pilots or scientists at Princeton University (who monitored the Martian invasion as part of the play) or actors who worked in Orson Welles’ theater group,” Nelson said.

The students must use detail and eyewitness accounts to get their points across, which are important fiction-writing techniques.

Schools name top teachers

Evergreen-area schools have named their teachers of the year, and they will be honored by the Evergreen Kiwanis at luncheons on April 16 and May 14.

The Evergreen Kiwanis has been honoring teachers for many years, according to Howard Smith, club secretary and a member of the youth services committee. He said the Kiwanis motto is to serve children of the world, and teachers are an integral part.

This year, for the first time in Smith’s memory, the club is honoring a husband and wife, who teach in Evergreen. Kim Mott teaches third grade at Bergen Valley Elementary School, and Chad Mott teaches social studies at Evergreen High School.

“I’m not sure we’ve ever had another instance of a husband and wife receiving the award the same year,” said Smith, who is a retired teacher.

• Marshdale Elementary selected Steve Matschullat, who is in his first year teaching fifth grade. Prior to teaching at Marshdale, he taught fifth grade in Columbia, Mo. He has a strong background in technology integration, teaching investigations math and the use of morning meetings to create a positive classroom community.

• Wilmot Elementary selected Linda Benton, who is in her first year teaching special education. Prior to teaching at Wilmot, she taught at Colorow Elementary School in Littleton. The letters from her peers supporting her nomination lauded her organizational skills; willingness to help students, teachers and parents; and her fun personality.

• Bergen Meadow Elementary selected Vanessa Kalsbeck, a first-grade teacher who has taught four years at the school. She was selected because of her ability to work with the community and co-workers, in addition to her love for children and teaching.

• Bergen Valley Elementary selected Kim Mott, a third-grade teacher who has been at the school for eight years. She has worked in education for 19 years dividing her time between regular classroom instruction and special education.

• Parmalee Elementary selected Donna Sutherland, who teaches fourth- and fifth-grade students in the gifted and talented program. Sutherland has been a teacher for 26 years. Her peers said she was a positive influence on students, staff and the community.

• Rocky Mountain Academy of Evergreen selected Danielle Washington, the school’s kindergarten through eighth grade Spanish teacher. Her peers said she brings excitement, fun and a passion for the Spanish language and culture to students every day.

• Evergreen Middle School selected Chet Andes, who teaches technical education and coaches intramural weight training, mountain biking and rock climbing. He’s been teaching at EMS since 2003, and taught in a Pennsylvania high school four years prior to that. Last year he rode a bike 2,000 miles to raise $15,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

• Evergreen High School selected Chet Mott, who has taught social studies at EHS for five years and has been in education for 15 years. School administrators said he is an innovative and rigorous teacher.

Have tips about schools in Evergreen? Contact Evergreen resident Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com.