Pine Strawberry School is not big in pupil numbers, but the elementary school looms large in student achievement.
Consider this, only days after the Buffalo archery team shined in the National Archery in Schools Championships and the track team put on a stunning show in the league finals, the student council received its third consecutive Master Council award from the Arizona Association of Junior High School Councils (AAJHSC).
It all unfolded May 8 at the AAJHSC 48th National Convention at Fort McDowell Resort in Fountain Hills.
There, the 12 council members and co-adviser Lu Carpino, also the school’s speech therapist, accepted the prestigious award.
Earning the “Master Council” designation is no easy achievement, Carpino says.
At the onset of the school year, council members must submit an application and each month following turn in evidence of the group’s achievements.
Among those is a spirit report that this year included a video presentation on the theme “Leaders Light the Way.”
On Nov. 7 at the Mesa Convention Center, student council members participated in a leadership conference in which they studied ways and methods of guiding and directing other students.
Later in the school year, an activities report was submitted to AAJHSC that was followed up by others on community involvement and fundraising.
Some of the funds the school earned during the school year were donated to a children’s charity selected by AAJHSC.
All of the reports council members generated were authenticated by school principal/superintendent Cody Barlow and then received blue “superior” ribbons at a judging meeting held April 12 at Wigwam Creek Middle School in Litchfield Park.
“All the work was done by the students themselves,” Carpino said. “We (including co-adviser Michelle Poole) are just the advisers.”
In February, student council members enjoyed a “Student Retreat with the Phoenix Suns” in which the pupils convened at noon at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix and then stayed on later that evening to watch the team in action.
“That was a big treat for them,” Carpino said.
Council members include Dakota Minear, Raci Miranda, Rebecca Ralls, Abby Ast, Quaid Tanner, Holly Carl, Krislyn Alford, Maddy Abney, Taylor Poole, Ryan LaFave-Stein and president Savannah Jones.
Sue Myers has left the building
Before Sue departed Pine last week for her new home in Santa Cruz, Calif, she refused my request to allow the Payson Roundup to write and publish a feature on her and the many years she spent as superintendent of both the Pine Strawberry and Payson Unified School Districts.
She said, she wanted no fanfare in leaving, but simply wanted to “slip out quietly.”
OK, so we’ll grant Sue’s request for anonymity, but all who knew her will remember Sue as the exceptional school leader who kept a clear focus while wearing so many hats.
Over the years, she set the direction and tone for two school districts charting a clear path for other administrators and teachers to follow.
I remember during Sue’s tenure at PUSD, she was forced to make many tough decisions, but never did so without a lot of thought and concern.
Sue was inducted into the Arizona Small and Rural Schools Hall of Fame in 2002 at ceremonies at the Hon-Dah Conference Center in Pinetop.
Sue called the induction, “a surprise and a big honor.”
Sue’s roots also run through the Payson Roundup, since her husband, Jack — who died in 2009 — was the paper’s general manager for many years successfully guiding the Roundup through some of its most challenging times.
Sue will be missed.
Squirrely Shirley visits library
Thanks to a memorial contribution from the family of former Library Friend Sherry Semrad, who died Feb. 4, the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library is bringing the four exciting reading events, “Fizz, Boom Read” to the Rim Country.
Library Manager Beck Waer points out that without the contribution, the programs could not have been hosted in Pine.
“I hope our community will take full advantage of these performances and mark their calendars now to attend,” Waer said.
The first program, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, June 4, is “Squirrely Shirley Discovers the Magic of Science with Puppets.”
The show is billed as a laugh and learn puppet and storytelling program for children and families. Audiences are said to have fun joining Squirrely Shirley (Glenda Bonin) in a program of surprises and scientific discovery.
The show helps children understand why it is important to follow directions and how to figure out what can be learned from a scientific experiment.
The program might also be of help to elementary school teachers.
“She stimulated interest and showed teachers how to use storytelling in the classroom not only to get their students interested, but to provide students with much-needed background knowledge so they may effectively learn content,” said one teacher who recently took in the show.
The second “Fizz, Boom Read” program, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, June 11 is “Lovely Buttons, Through the Art of Clowning.”
Lovely Buttons is actually Phoenix clown Julie Varholdt who travels the state bringing unique and fun programs to libraries and schools.
She says she has a series of one-of-a-kind informative presentations geared for several age groups.
“Didgeridoo Down Under” will unfold from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, June 21. It is described as an Australian-themed show that combines music, culture and science.
The final program, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, June 25, is “Celebrate the Love of Reading — by learning to make slime.”
Following the program, attendees’ reading certificates will be awarded and “delicious treats provided” said Waer.
Festival on tap
The summer festival season kicks off in earnest tomorrow, May 24 with the 34th Annual Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild Spring Show. The festival continues through May 25.
It traditionally is one of the biggest attractions among the nine summer and fall festivals held locally drawing hundreds of visitors many of whom are heat-weary desert dwellers seeking a cool mountain retreat.
Organizers promise the event will include over 30 antique, art and boutique shops that are sure to tickle the interest of all.
Also at the festival, the Mountain Village Foundation will be serving a $5 pancake breakfast that includes sausage, orange juice and coffee.
It will be served 7 to 10 a.m. on Saturday and 8 to 11 a.m. on Sunday. The breakfasts are the major fundraiser for the foundation and will also be served on Independence Day and Labor Day weekends.
Old-timers will remember the breakfast was formerly put on by the Pine Strawberry Fire Department but in the past few years, the foundation has taken over.
The Pine-Strawberry Arts & Crafts Guild was founded to promote an appreciation of handmade arts and crafts and provide a venue for Arizona artists and crafters to display and sell their work.
With visitors flocking to the cool pines during the warm summer months, the festival has developed a reputation as a great place to display and sell and buy crafts all the while enjoying the beauty of the Rim Country.