Academy swings into final week
A few Tonganoxie Elementary students became a bit dizzy last Wednesday.
But it was well worth it.
The students, who were enrolled in the Afternoon Academy's Spanish class, ended their winter course by taking some swings at a piÃ±ata.
As is customary, the children were spun around -- blindfolded -- before taking some swings at the piÃ±ata.
Instructor Peachez Joles gave each of the students three attempts at hitting the piÃ±ata.
Although no one successfully knocked the stuffing out of the piÃ±ata, Joles opened the papier mache creation at the end of the class for all the students to grab their handfuls of candy.
The traditional Mexican activity put the finishing touches on the six-week course.
Students in first through sixth grades were enrolled in the class, which is offered through the Tonganoxie Volunteer Center's Afternoon Academy at the elementary school. The academy offers after-school activities for the six weeks leading up to spring break.
"They picked it up real well," Joles said.
In the fall, students were split into first-through-third and fourth-through-sixth grade classes.
This time, Joles opted for one class that met twice a week.
"It worked out great," Joles said.
Joles used songs and games to teach the students Spanish. A baseball game required that students could advance to the next base -- if they correctly identified a word in Spanish.
"They learned so fast," Joles said. "They picked up songs really quick."
Joles was especially happy with the students' ability to pronounce vowels.
"If you can pronounce your vowels, you can say anything or read anything," Joles said.
In the fall, the class had a taco supper at the end of their course, which Joles said was a unique experience.
"They had to name all the parts of the meal before they could eat it," Joles said.
Last week, the students had the option of another taco supper or piÃ±ata.
The students opted for the swinging object full of candy.
5, 6, 7, 8
The TES music room was the site for classes during this season's installment of Afternoon Academy's dance class.
Last week, students were putting the final touches on their own dance routines in their final class.
Throughout the course, Lindsey Starcher and Holly Heintzelman taught the young girls new routines each week.
Starcher said the students liked to add a little extra something to the dance steps.
"They brought their own spice to it," Heintzelman said.
As the team filed out of the music room, Volunteer Center director Earleta Morey handed the young dancers a certificate for participating in Afternoon Academy.
Heintzelman said she would miss working with the young girls.
"It was fun working with the little kids," Heintzelman said. "It was a lot of fun."
Plenty of other classes
Last Wednesday also marked the end of other Afternoon Academy classes.
Other classes offered this year included bat house construction, crafts from nature, art class, crochet, self-defense, papier mache, beginner's chess, Spanish and knitting class.
During the latest academy session, roughly 160 students were enrolled.
"I think it was very successful," said Earleta Morey, volunteer center coordinator. "We had a couple interruptions with school getting let out early and snow days, but I think it was successful.
"We had some good response from kids and parents that kids were enjoying it."