The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Front.cheers
    MACEE BEERS joins other Fayette Elementary School students for the annual Mini-Cheer performance during the half-time break at the basketball game.
  • Family.3.wide
    CHILDREN at Stair District Library’s Family Story Time toss scarves into the air during an activity. The evening program provided a mix of stories, songs, dancing, crafts and snacks Monday evening. The program is offered at 5:30 p.m. every Monday for five more weeks. The program is designed for three to five year olds and their family.
  • Front.newpaper.2
    THE INTERVIEW—Evelyn Joughin (right) records the interaction with an iPad while Jack Varga, next to her, asks questions of Morenci Elementary School principal Gail Frey. Morenci senior Sam Cool (standing) listens. Cool serves as the editor for the newspaper written by members of Mrs. Barrett’s second grade class.
  • Front.code.2
    WRITING CODE—Brock Christle (left), a Morenci fifth grade student, takes a look at the progress being made by fourth grader Anthony Lewis. Libby Rorick, a sixth grade student, is next in a line of girls trying out the coding tutorials. This year marked Morenci’s second year of participation in the Hour of Code project.
  • Front.gym.new
    REMIE RYAN (left) tries to dodge the foam wand held by Hayden Bays during physical education class at Morenci Elementary School. In the background, Lauryn Dominique and Brooklyn Williams stay clear of the tag. Second grade students were working on cardiovascular health on the first day back from vacation. For the record, Safety Tag is a very difficult sport to photograph.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.library.books
    MACK DICKSON takes a book off the “blind date” cart at the Fayette library. Patrons can choose a book without knowing what’s inside other than a general category. The books are among those designated for removal so patrons can consider them gifts. In Morenci, new books and staff favorites were chosen from the stacks and must be returned. Patrons get a piece of chocolate, too, to take on their date, but no clue about their “date.” One reader said she really enjoyed her book for a few pages, but then lost interest—so typical for a blind date.

2006.12.20 Rile 'em up and leave

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

On the last day of vacation, we went to school. We wanted to visit the kindergarten classroom where Ben’s girlfriend, Sarah, teaches on the north side of Miami.

Sarah had no trouble lining up a job when she attended a “teacher fair” last summer. For one thing, she graduated from Michigan State University which currently enjoys the reputation for having one of the top teacher-training programs in the country. For another thing, it was Florida.

Florida needs teachers like Michigan needs jobs. A vast shortage in each location. In Florida, you don’t need that MSU education degree to be considered valuable. That’s just a bonus. A college degree in anything will do.

When Sarah attended the job fair, the media specialist from Hubert O. Sibley Elementary School made her acquaintance and Sarah was sort of kidnapped. “Come meet my principal.” She was soon signing the contract.

We knew Sarah would be a valuable candidate in Miami since she had a minor in Spanish. As it turned out, Sibley is in a neighborhood of Haitians.

We made our final visiting arrangements by cell phone as our plans for the day were changing due to rain. Sarah asked what we wanted her to plan for when we arrived. I said not to worry; we’d take care of it—and didn’t give it another thought. Something would happen.

We stopped at the visitors’ table and were told that Ms. Morrison was expecting us. We stood out as the rare white-skinned people in a hallway of children rushing here and there.

When we entered the classroom, all the kids were in the story area with Sarah seated in front. Within a minute, it was Mr. Green in the hot seat, interviewing the residents—Starsha, Zajah, Jovan, Shanieka, Manasseh, Ziyanna and the rest.

It took me back a few years to when I worked in inner city Saginaw. This was 1973 when Saginaw had the “honor” of being known as Michigan’s murder capital.

I was the rare white face there, too, as I served as a classroom aide in a large Head Start preschool class. Mr. David, I was called.

It was a heart-breaking experience at times. The poverty showed through quite clearly. I was from another culture and clearly the odd man in the crowd. It wasn’t just the grits served for breakfast; the discipline techniques used by some aides didn’t fit my understanding of how the world should work.

Irene was a kind soul who made a great grandmother figure for many of the kids. Big Lucille, on the other hand, was another story. If one of her kids misbehaved, she would grab a hand and bend a finger back to gain submission. She was good at meting out her punishment. As far as I know, she never broke a bone or did any permanent damage.

There was a lot of spanking that went on, too. Finger bending was more appropriate for the meal table.

I never adapted the others’ techniques, except once. Anthony was constantly running off wildly, but it really didn’t bother me all that much. The problem was that it bothered people like Lucille and showed off my lack of control. He got a little spanking once, not that it really did that much good.

I needed Ms. Morrison with her “crisscross, applesauce” command. That put the kids into place every time. Cross legs, arms folded on laps, no problem.

Applesauce was soon needed in her classroom the day of our visit. The interview went smoothly. Each student said his or her name and I responded with some silly comment.

But then it was Ms. Leddy’s turn to read a book and while she looked through the collection, I was left there at the front to entertain.

“Hey, let me show you how my thumb comes off.” It’s the old trick my father taught me years ago and it turned a behaved class into a boisterous crowd. I have that problem with youngsters. I usually rile them up somehow.

Ms. Leddy read a duck story and at the end of it, she made the mistake of saying, “Now Mr. Green will show you how to waddle like a duck.” I did, and soon there were 25 ducklings waddling after me around the classroom.

It took Ms. Morrison to restore order. No thumb bending, Lucille, just a few magic words.

We said “Good luck” to Ms. Morrison and headed for the door. Our work was finished.

    - Dec. 20, 2006 

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