Wild & Wilder
The Fourth grade classes of Shirley Tompkins and Vickie Brock had the privilege of going back in time with Tamara Wilder who specializes in wilderness crafts. Students got a hands-on dose of the reality of Native American everyday life. Starting with soap stone chunks they used primitive (not electric, not metal) drills to make holes for beads. I spoke with 4th grader J.T. Carlin about his experience. “We made string from Dogbane. It’s hollow and we smashed and crunched it then we took the bark to get fibers and twisted it to make it tight for string. We made a rabbit stick to hit a box. It evolved into a boomerang. They used it to hit and stun animals, deer and rabbits. We made wooden spears and practiced throwing them through hoops rolled on the ground. We studied stuff the Indians did in the past and how they had to survive and hunt.” I also got to interview 4th grader Blake Sanchez. “We were really interested in the history of the Indians because the 4th grade studies the tribes of Indians. We learned how they survived with tools. We made necklaces that we hand drilled. It took awhile. We learned interesting facts about weapons. We learned about a special bow to throw long distances. We ate the meat inside a special kind of acorn it didn’t taste like anything I’ve eaten before. Tamara Wilder is really smart, she likes to work with kids, she’s a good teacher.” An unusual opportunity to ponder some very particular details about life as it was and to appreciate all the tools and technology we have at our fingertips.
Panthers: NCL Volleyball Champs!
Anderson Valley’s high school volleyball teams chalked up two wins over the Mendocino Cardinals last week, to win the 2009 NCL II (North) league championship. The Panther varsity now heads into the North Coast Section Championship Tournament as the second highest seeded team. They start their playoff run with a home match at 7pm, on Saturday, November 14. Anderson Valley has qualified for the NCS tournament every season since 1991. Last Tuesday, both the varsity and junior varsity teams traveled to Mendocino and beat the home team in straight sets. The packed house at the Cardinals’ gym was raucous and the games were hard fought, but Anderson Valley played a well-disciplined match, and never let Mendocino gain any momentum. With the wins over Mendocino, the AV varsity ended the regular season with a record of 23-3, while the JV’s enjoyed an equally spectacular record of 21-2. With this season’s championship pennants to hang on the gym wall, the Anderson Valley volleyball teams have amassed an astounding total of 29 league titles since 1992. As the playoffs begin, all volleyball fans are urged to come out to cheer on our local athletes who have worked so hard to represent their school and their community with pride and dignity. (—Flick McDonald)
Come to Dia de Gracias
Having suddenly lost one third of it’s total funding the AV Health Center needs help! AVHS Leadership has taken this plight to heart. On November 21st they are giving a Thanksgiving Fund Raising Dinner at the Grange at 5 with dancing at 7:30. You can eat a great Mexican meal, get your aerobic exercise dancing, have fun and help the Health Center all at the same time. Help leadership help — an opportunity not to be missed. Tickets at All That Good Stuff, Mi Esperanza and Lemon’s. $10 adults, $5 kids.
Elevated by Symphony
Betsy Taylor AVHS teacher and accomplished musician dropped this tidbit in my box. “Esther Soto and I took five students to the Symphony of the Redwoods concert Sunday the 1st. They were enthralled. We met the conductor and the piano soloist backstage. Students can attend these concerts for FREE!” I remember being bused to classical music concerts organized by Leonard Bernstein when I was a grade school student in Los Angeles. I was completely carried away as the music washed over me- so powerful. If you know a student you can treat them to a concert and maybe make a memory for the price of your ticket and your time.
On Wednesday night I watched our soccer team beat Sonoma Academy 5-1. Happily Sonoma Academy fought hard which made it an exciting game. Interesting to watch broad differences between the teams. One major difference was that our players kept their feet close together whenever possible while the opposing team seemed to have feet flying. The Sonoma players were good and focused it was just that our team seemed to be so much more in control. I have to say that is thrilling to be cheering a team that shows so much determination. I felt I could have cut the Panther’s concentration with a knife it was so dense. I had my eye on number 22 Sergio Gutierrez who was always looking for an opening to score and found a few. Coach Steve Sparks told me he made his 59th goal at the game. I was watching from a position close to Rigo Guerrero. His agility and ability to tumble and spring back effortlessly seems to defy gravity in some basic way. At one point a Sonoma player did something he should not have done, something obviously considered unfair and unwarranted. Suddenly all the players started to snarl. Coaches stepped in and cooler heads prevailed but it was a tense moment. At the end of the game as the teams walked past each other touching hands in a display of good sportsmanship I was moved. They say sports really does teach positive life lessons, deep lessons. I could see it is true. Just in: Saturday night they beat University Prep of SF 3-2. Come see some great soccer at the semifinal with Branson tonight, Wednesday, 11/11. 7pm at AVHS soccer field.
FFA Speaks Up
Beth Swehla and AVHS once again hosted the annual FFA Public Speaking Contest. My partner Robert Sites served as a judge from the community. It was all new to him as he observed juniors from Potter Valley, Laytonville and Ukiah giving their opening and closing speeches from memory. Public speaking with no notes. Think about it. Scary. Bob said the kids were poised and well prepared. He judged alongside veteran judges J.R. Collins and Jim Tomlin who said the kids really knew their material. Bob was impressed as he told me that he never realized that FFA focused on leadership skills reaching far beyond what he thinks of as traditional farm work.
Creek Lovers Needed
Linda MacElwee makes this plea: “If you haven't heard yet we are building a nature trail at the Anderson Valley Jr/Sr High School along Robinson Creek. There is going to be a volunteer workday out on the nature trail Sunday November 15 from 10-3pm. We are looking for a minimum 5-6 adult volunteers to work together with student volunteers from the School. We'll be cutting back bushes to widen the upper loop of the trail as well as moving rip rap rock into place and filling with gravels to build part of the lower loop of the trail (this part will entail some heavy work for those capable). It is sure to be a fun day, connecting with kids, the creek and community, if you are interested to join in call the River Center at 895-3230.
Make a Mark
Swing into the festive time of year by marking your calendar for all of these events: First day of basketball practice Nov. 9, Mom and Daughter Meeting for 5th and 6th graders Nov. 10 at 5pm at AVES, Sports Awards assembly at AVHS Nov. 18, Fundraising dinner for the Health Center by AVHS Leadership Class at the Grange Nov. 21 at 5 P.M., Thanksgiving break Nov. 25-27, Las Posadas at AVES Dec. 4, the AVES Winter Concert and Pozole Dinner at AVHS Gym on Dec. 10, The PTAV Kids Craft Fair at the Boonville Fairgrounds Dec. 5, Winter Break Dec. 11-Jan.4.
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