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Lesson Plans: Freshman wins poetry championship at EHS

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

Evergreen High School freshman Abby Rosenberg won the March Madness championship round.

But not in basketball — in poetry.

Rosenberg’s poem, “The Forbidden Fruit,” bested 63 other poems written by both student and professional poets to win the competition at the high school. The poem is about battling addiction.

Second place went to sophomore Alison Michelin, whose poem “The Nightmare Before Christmas” was a spoof of the movie and a retelling of “ ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

The competition, which was all about getting students excited about poetry, was sponsored by the school’s English department and spearheaded by English teacher Bernadine Shimon.

Shimon said a poetry competition of this nature was the first for the school, and she was pleased with the excitement it generated. She started with 64 poems — about half written by students. The remainder were song lyrics from the likes of Jim Morrison and Paul Simon, and poems from professionals such as Edgar Allan Poe, Shel Silverstein and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Students in English classes voted for their favorites. The initial 64 were narrowed to the Sweet Sixteen, then the Elite Eight and eventually to the Final Four. In the championship round, Rosenberg’s poem beat out Michelin’s poem by only three votes.

Shimon hopes the poetry tournament becomes a yearly event as a way to help students become enthusiastic about writing and reading poetry.

Concerts teach kids about jazz

Students at three Evergreen elementary schools were treated to concerts by the Boulder Acoustic Society last week courtesy of the Evergreen Jazz Festival.

Assemblies featured the jazz/blues band at Marshdale, Wilmot and Bergen Valley elementary schools.

The Evergreen Jazz Festival sponsored the concerts because the festival’s mission statement includes an education component, said Jim Reiners, one of the festival founders.

“Kids really don’t know much about traditional jazz music,” Reiners said. “In our own small way, we want to get them involved in the music, so the music will continue to have an audience … . We take this education thing pretty seriously.”

The Boulder Acoustic Society, featuring musicians playing violin, accordion, bass and percussion plus vocals, was perfect for an elementary school audience, said Maureen Spiegleman, vice president of the Jazz Festival board and co-chair of the education committee.

“What (the musicians) do is unique,” she said. “They don’t just play a concert. Instead, they talk to the kids about how the music’s constructed and how it progresses …”

The musicians asked the children to give them information about their school lunch experiences that could be turned into lyrics to a blues song. “It was just fabulous,” Spiegleman said.

Three years ago, the education committee really started reaching out to school-age children to teach them about jazz. “One of the things I’m proudest of is watching the education outreach grow,” she said.

EMS Team Fit learns about fitness, nutrition

Twenty-five Evergreen Middle School students —members of the school’s Team Fit — culminated their journey to learn more about fitness and nutrition by meeting members of the Colorado Avalanche hockey team last month.

Team Fit is sponsored by the Avalanche and Nuggets for third- through eighth-graders in the metro Denver area. It focuses on teaching children about the fundamentals of nutrition and fitness

The EMS eighth-graders analyzed their diets for four weeks by keeping track of what they ate, categorizing the information into the food groups and comparing it with the food pyramid, according to Chris Portaro, the school’s consumer and family science teacher.

They also met with physical education teacher Lisa Deal to participate in physical activities.

The Team Fit members had to apply to be part of the program, Portaro said. Students wrote essays about why they wanted to participate.

“We were looking for kids who really were focused on learning more about nutrition and fitness,” she said.

March 6 was designed as Colorado Avalanche Day at the school, when only the 25 students spent an hour with center Ben Guite and right wing Brian Willsie. In addition, Avalanche strength and conditioning coach Paul Goldberg reinforced the message of the importance of nutrition and exercise.

To give back, Portaro and Deal prepared a basket for the Avalanche with items that had an Evergreen flavor — bandanas from Echo Mountain, a hockey puck from the Evergreen Lake House and T-shirts from the Little Bear.

Portaro considered the program successful and says she’s already looking forward to the school’s involvement next year.

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