Fifth grade social studies teacher Deanna Strobbe explained each year every class must host a night event concentrating on a special subject. Because of the time of year, the fifth through seventh grade social studies classes opted to do Christmas Around the World and present research and things they have learned to family, friends and local civic and political leaders.
Each social studies teacher, including Kevin McCandlis, Kevin Grissom and Strobbe, teach various kinds of history from Arkansas to World History and the event was organized and hosted by the students in the Highland Middle School gymnasium. Strobbe said, "We sent home notes with the students to get an accurate number of how many would be attending so we could prepare enough food." At first she said it was set to take place in the cafeteria but the overwhelming response led the program to be held in the gym, with food in the cafeteria.
The children were required to research Christmas traditions from different countries. She said they also researched some interesting superstitions. The music classes from the fifth grade sang a Christmas carol from another country, and the sixth and seventh grade choir performed for the crowd.
The students prepareda Christmas tree with ornaments from all over the world, including origami paper art ornaments, gingerbread men from Germany and paper chains native to China. Strobbe said the students did a wonderful job from beginning to end entertaining the large group with song, jokes and food. She said, for as many people who attended, the event went very smoothly.
Local dignitaries who attended the event included State Senator-elect Missy Irvin, former superintendent Ronnie Brogdon, Circuit Court Judge Kevin King, Sheriff Elect Mark Counts, Sharp County Tax Assessor Kathy Nix, Cherokee Village Mayor Lloyd Hefley and Juvenile probation officer Kevin Dienst.
Another treat was provided by Debbie Kehrli who brought her international Santa Claus collection for everyone to enjoy. She and the women of GFWC helped with refreshments. The majority of the food was made by the seventh grade honors class. As part of their assignment, the class was required to bring approximately 20 dishes from other countries.
Strobbe said, "This is every bit kid generated. They did everything: narrator, emcee, greeters, servers. We are trying to work on being good citizens and teaching them, as they grow older, the things they will encounter in the community."