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Park School to host Great Bend Scholars Bowl
Instructor Eric Dowson with Jeremiah McFarland, center, and Deacon Singleton talk about Scholar’s Bowl. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Park Elementary Principal Kelsey Sciacca welcomed the Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education when the school hosted a school board meeting on Tuesday.

“We do a lot of amazing things,” Sciacca said. To demonstrate, several sixth-graders and their teachers, Eric Dowson and Nina Ralston, talked about coding, classroom economics and scholars bowl.

Jeremiah McFarland and Deacon Singleton are members of the school’s sixth-grade Scholars Bowl team, which practices after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. They’ve had one tournament and will host a tournament on Monday, March 4. That event starts at 3:45 p.m. and is open to the public. It will consist of Great Bend’s five public elementary schools and Holy Family school.

Emma Delgadillo and Averie Kerchner talked about using computer models to test predictions in coding class. They also created a program.

“A computer can’t think for itself,” Delgadillo said. “It can only do what it is programmed to do.”

Kerchner added that the majority of students will use the skills learned in their class, even if they don’t seek a career in computer science.

Mr. Dowson introduced Gentry VanSkike and Rubi Perez as he explained a program called My Classroom Economy.

“Every student has a classroom job where they earn a salary,” he said. The class teaches responsibility as students make financial decisions for budgeting. They pay rent on their desks, but with planning they can buy their desk. While VanSkike and Perez own their own desks and VanSkike is also collecting rent on another student’s desk, some have had to carry their books until they paid their debts, Dowson said. 

The students have to apply for their jobs and must hold a different job every quarter. “I’ve been a banker and a police officer so far,” VanSkike said.

Dowson said this program is available for all grade levels but Park School only uses it in the sixth grade.

The board also heard from instructor Kurtis Schaub, who talked about the All Stars program for sixth graders.

Sciacca said staff continues to work on chronic absenteeism, family academic expectations and decreasing poor student behaviors. 

She also said Park School Booster Club is wrapping up a successful fundraiser by selling tickets for a drawing. They are raising money for new stage curtains, outdoor lighting and a mural in the gym.