The Garlough Environmental Magnet School (GEMS) hosted their largest event and biggest fundraiser last Friday at their annual Hoot Hike. Thankfully the rain held off and the kids and their parent(s) were able to explore all of the learning stations, participate at the activity centers, and roast marshmallows at the bonfire to top off their evening!
A few Awaken friends teamed up with GEMS parents, staff, and Heritage Middle School students to man the stations. One was the “Milk Mustache Photo Shoot”, where kids lined up to pose with their own milk mustache for an internal campaign reminding kids the importance of drinking milk. Another station was “The 100-Mile Challenge” which credited kids for taking a 1.5 mile hike around GEMS, and getting that much closer to the challenge of running/walking 100 miles this school year. This is a new initiative started by Jo, the extremely energetic phy-ed teacher who has put in 17 year and counting at GEMS and loves to see kids develop healthy habits of staying active.
Some of the other learning stations included recycling lessons, where kids got to practice putting items in the correct bins, and a student lead-table that showed kids small science experiments with rocks and minerals. The list continues with Frisbee golf, biking obstacle courses, hula-hoops, dance parties (these kids have moves!) and the concessions stand, where all of the kids were given a meal token to enjoy hot dogs, popcorn, and the works.
As GEMS has an increasingly high number of students learning English as a second language, it was a blast to see the interactions between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking families, and how much fun everyone was having despite the sometimes evident language barrier. It is inspiring to see the passion and perseverance of a school like GEMS continue to press in to educating their students to live healthy and environmentally aware lifestyles, all while having a “hoot” of a time.