Cape elementary students celebrate final day of summer school at Central's new indoor athletic facility

An elementary student participates in a bean-bag throwing competition during the final day of summer school Friday, June 7, at Cape Central High School in Cape Girardeau.
J.C. Reeves ~ jcreeves@semissourian.com

With the Summer Olympics around the corner, each of the Cape Girardeau Public Schools elementary schools celebrated the last day of their Olympics-themed summer school session Friday, June 7, with activities for students inside Cape Central High School’s new indoor athletics facility.

Inside the facility, educators set up four stations on the freshly installed turf with different activities for the students to participate in, including an obstacle course, beach ball soccer, a game called “sharks and minnows” involving pool noodles and a bag toss competition.

Clippard Elementary School principal Amy Emmenderfer said the Olympics theme was chosen to emphasize physical activity for students.

“We wanted to do something where we got the kids active and moving,” Emmenderfer said. “What better way than to set up something like this at this facility? It was a great two weeks of summer school. …

“Some of them, when I asked them what they’re going to do (this summer), they’re going to play video games. When I asked them what they did over the weekend, they didn’t get outside and play. I’m a person that, when I was younger, I was outside from dawn to dusk. Seeing them being active and playing with other kids, some of them don’t have siblings, some of them don’t have neighbors that they can play with and all that. I think that one of the reasons why parents send kids to summer school is to have that socialization. I love it as an administrator.”

An elementary student participates in the ring toss portion of an obstacle course during the final day of summer school Friday, June 7, at Cape Central High School in Cape Girardeau.
J.C. Reeves ~ jcreeves@semissourian.com

Each school incorporated the Olympics theme in the classroom differently. At Clippard, teachers set up challenges such as reading races to add “a little friendly competition”.

Approximately 400 students attended summer school across Clippard, Jefferson, Alma Schrader and Blanchard elementary schools.

“Setting up this event, you have to be mindful because we have students that are pre-K going into kindergarten in the fall, and then students that will be fourth graders in the fall. We had to kind of make sure that we were touching the abilities of all the students here, academic and athletic,” Emmenderfer said.

Emmenderfer said summer school is not a requirement for any student, but some teachers may “strongly suggest” that a struggling student, or a student who is doing well and a teacher wants them to “keep the momentum going,” should attend. The decision is ultimately up to the parents.

An elementary student participates in beach ball soccer during the final day of summer school Friday, June 7, at Cape Central High School in Cape Girardeau.
J.C. Reeves ~ jcreeves@semissourian.com

“We do some enrichment activities,” Emmenderfer said, “but we try to just follow the pace of what our classroom teachers were doing, and try to get them ready for the next grade.”

The elementary schools’ activity day is the first event of any kind to take place in the new indoor facility. While parts of the facility aren’t finished, the main practice area is. The expected completion date is unknown, but it’s expected to be ready before the start of football season.

“I love that the district has given us the opportunity to be the first ones in here, because some of these kids may never get to experience something like this (again),” Emmenderfer said. “ … To be able to have a facility like this in the community and have our students use this; I wish it would have been here when I was a student because this would have been really, really cool.

“I hope that this opens the doors to some of these younger students to go into sports and all of that because we’ve been really working hard. (District athletic director) Mr. (Tyson) Moyers has been really working hard with the elementaries to get more students involved in sports, and staying in sports until they get into the upper grades in high school. This kind of shows them like, ‘Hey, look, I got to use this when I was in kindergarten, first, second and third grade, and now I’m using it when I am in a freshman in high school.”

An elementary student crawls through the tunnel at the end of an obstacle course during the final day of summer school Friday, June 7, at Cape Central High School in Cape Girardeau.
J.C. Reeves ~ jcreeves@semissourian.com

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