- Your News
By ANDREA AGARDY
Members of East Students on the Move (ESOM) took their mission to contribute to the community to a new venue last weekend, visiting East Lincoln School to help children there “make the grade.”
Sherry Sherrill, an inclusion aide at East Middle School and sponsor of the ESOM program, said Saturday’s learning fair at East Lincoln was the club’s first endeavor of its kind.
Sherrill said 32 East Lincoln pupils showed up in the elementary school gym for the event, adding she was quite pleased with the turnout.
The learning fair was designed to be a fun way for East Lincoln’s fourth-and fifth-graders to prepare for the annual state assessment testing, and judging by the laughter and excitement echoing through the gym on Saturday, all went according to plan.
The ESOM members quizzed the younger children with test preparation questions from the popular “Study Island” software program.
“If they get the answers right, they get to play fun games,” Sherrill said. “It’s to prepare the younger kids for the TCAP tests they’ll be taking soon. Our kids made the games; they’ve put in quite a few hours on it.”
The middle school students created games based on the popular game show “Jeopardy,” as well as familiar favorites like the rubber ducky pond, bowling and shooting suction cup darts at targets.
For the past three years, the ESOM club has been funded by a 21st Century grant, a federal program supporting the creation of community learning centers to provide academic enrichment during non-school hours. The children who participate in ESOM are invited to join the club, which meets on Saturdays throughout the school year.
Sherrill said once they’ve been invited to participate in ESOM, the students need to hold up their end of the bargain by attending at least 85 percent of the club’s activities and keeping their grades up.
“We try to solicit children who need something to belong to,” said Debbie Edens, East Middle School principal. ESOM meetings alternate between community service events one Saturday and a reward trip the next.
For example, Edens said, club members attended the homecoming game at Middle Tennessee State University. Sherrill said the students have a long list of service projects under their collective belt, including preparing meals for Coffee County Cares for Families, conducting food drives for local church pantries and lending a hand at Bark in the Park, the annual fundraiser for the Tullahoma Animal Shelter.
Spencer Harnett and Derek Mayes, eighth-graders who were running the “Jeopardy” booth, said they really enjoy being a part of ESOM. Asked for his favorite part of the program, Harnett quickly said he likes the reward trips the students take, listing the roller skating and laser tag outings among his favorites, along with the end-of-the-year trip to Dollywood.
Mayes said he likes taking an active role in the city.
“I like getting involved in the community,” he said. “We get to spend our Saturdays helping instead of just sleeping in.”
Sherrill said if East Middle School’s next 21st Century grant application is successful the seventh- and eighth-graders participating in next year’s club will likely plan another learning fair.
“This is the first time we’ve done a learning fair, but hopefully it will not be the last,” Sherrill said. “If this is a success, and we get the grant again, we will hold another one next year.”
Saturday’s fair was the club’s last service event for the year, and Sherrill said the students have done well. Edens agreed, adding that although ESOM is wrapping up the year, the program will be back next year, provided the grant application is approved.
The principal said members of the community have volunteered their time to help with the program in the past, and extra hands are always welcome. For more information on how to volunteer with East Students on the Move, call East Middle School at 454-2632.
Andrea Agardy can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.