Students have designed fun and educational activities for the kids, such as Plant Identification Bingo, boat races in the creek, and a challenge course around the playground. A $5 per plate hotdog dinner will support Scholars Academy Peer Leadership program and the Odyssey of the Mind teams.
Over 170 students in the schools have participated in a comprehensive park study and park awareness campaign. An exhibit called “The Park Is Our Classroom” will feature student work on a big yellow school bus in the park during the tailgate. Professional designers from the Citizens’ Institute for Rural Design team will also display their preliminary sketches and ideas for a redesign of the park.
Scholars Academy science teacher Jamie Gammel and English teacher Dawn Hunnewell have been involved in the MacIntyre Park project for the past three years. This year, their fifth grade Enriching Gifted and Talented Students (EGATS) have researched the history and studied the ecology of the park in preparation for naming the creeks running through the park.
“Fascinated during the presentation of Amelia Gallo of the Thomasville Historical Society, the students learned about the history of Bruce’s Branch-- the only named creek in the park-- and the tragic death of Dr. Bruce as he crossed the creek,” said Jamie Gammel. “They used that history as an impetus to research other aspects of Thomas County history and propose names for the creek.”
One group proposed the name “Hero’s Creek” after researching the deaths of some of our city’s war heroes, including Thomasville natives US Navy Senior Chief David McLendon and US Army Spc. Shannon Chihuahua who died combat in Afghanistan in 2010. The class also proposed a memorial for local fallen soldiers.
Georgia History teacher Djuana Rinehart’s class have also taken up the challenge to name the creeks. Her classes have made videos to promote their proposed creek names.
“We now have the largest collection of information on the MacIntyre family in the city. We dug deep and went just about everywhere-- from the genealogical library, the Thomas County Historical Society, the Internet-- to get a full history of our city and the park,” Rinehart said.
The public will have a chance to vote on students’ proposed creek names at the Tailgate, as well as the wrap-up event on Saturday, Oct. 29.
“We are fortunate to have the park right next door to us. Both history and science classes, along with some of our arts classes, use it and this project showed how we can all come together to improve the places we love,” Rinehart said.
-Written with reporting assistance by Hallie Turner, a senior at Scholars Academy