Bostian students get into Olympic spirit

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Sarah Nagem
Salisbury Post
CHINA GROVE ó It had everything an Olympian could want: flags from around the globe, an authentic torch and the possibility of ice cream.
Thousands of miles from China, where the summer Olympics will take place, students at Bostian Elementary are staging their own kind of Olympics this week. The youngsters gathered Monday morning for an opening ceremony, where each homeroom represented a different country.
Students marched from their classrooms to the ball field, carrying homemade flags from countries like Denmark, Ireland, Sweden and Japan.
John Bouk, who carried the Olympic torch through Rowan County for the 1996 Atlanta games, ran with the torch around a circle of students outside the school. Then he passed it off to school principal Lisa Sigmon.
The torch was second-grader Cody Mullis’ favorite part of the festivities. “It was on fire,” the 7-year-old said.
It was also educational, said Angie Johnson, a PTA member who helped organize the “try-athlon” for the school. Students asked their families to pledge money for the event. This week, students will take math and spelling tests, earning points for each correct answer. They’ll also get points for running laps during physical education classes.
Students can earn up to 100 points. Some people pledged to donate a certain amount per point, Sigmon said. Others donated a set amount.
At Bostian, students have been learning about the history and meaning of the Olympics for the past couple of weeks. They’ve learned about the meaning of the five interconnected Olympic rings, which represent the world’s five major regions. At least one of the rings’ colors ó blue, yellow, black, green and red ó appears in every country’s flag.
Johnson said it’s important to get kids involved and keep the curriculum interesting.
“We want the kids to come to school every week going, ‘What’s going to happen this week?’ ” Johnson said.
Sarah Safrit didn’t get pledges. But the 11-year-old fifth-grader was happy to get out of the classroom for a little while. So was Isaiah Stanford, a fellow fifth-grader and the student body president.
“I think it always helps for kids to have a visual,” Sigmon said. “A lot of the kids have never watched the Olympics.”
In Anna Hinshaw’s kindergarten class, youngsters are learning about Australia. To earn points, 5-year-old Olivia Gardner and her classmates will have to answer math and spelling questions, and they’ll be asked to recite their addresses and phone numbers. During Monday’s ceremony, Gardner said she’s also learned about what it takes to be an athlete.
“We have to work really hard and practice really hard,” Gardner said.
The event, which is a PTA fundraiser, has earned the school about $6,700, Johnson said. She didn’t want the school to do a typical fundraiser of selling things like cookie dough and gadgets.
“It’s something different for the kids,” Johnson said. “And the parents are tired of buying junk they don’t want to buy.”
The kids’ hard work will pay off. Winning classes will get ice cream parties. Also, students will have the chance to win MP3 players, gift cards and more.
Contact Sarah Nagem at 704-797-7683 or