Students turn Union Elementary into 10 national parks for Spotlight Night


By Anna Skinner



Union Elementary students in kindergarten through fourth grade will get to reward themselves with a celebration, Spotlight Night, March 18.

Spotlight Night is held every three years at Union Elementary, and this year it coincides with the National State Park Foundation’s 100th anniversary, the focal point of the event.

Kids in all grade levels worked on ideas for earth-friendly community service and how to better Union Elementary school grounds and respect national parks.

The entire school has focused on Project Based Learning, with ways to better the school or national parks. Some grades planted tulips on school grounds or installed bird houses.

“On Spotlight Night we are going to transform the school into national parks so all the children can hike through the school in the evening and visit 10 national parks,” said Nicole Robinson, co-organizer with Jill Phipps. “It’s a true celebration on how they’ve accomplished their goals that teachers set forth, like planting tulips. With the bird houses, the students learned that tied into what kind of birds are in national parks.”

Spotlight Night is strictly for the kids and takes place from 5 to 9:30 p.m. with teacher supervision. From 10:30 a.m. to noon March 19, the displays will be open to the public so students can return with their parents and friends and take them on the same hike and show what they’ve learned.

The national parks featured include Yellowstone, Yosemite, Mammoth Cave, Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, Canyonland, Lakeshore, Smokey Mountains and Hawaii Volcano. The 10th park is one Union Elementary created to feature student artwork.

Different activities will take place in the parks, such as students learning about volcanos and fun facts. Snacks will be provided.

“Each child will get a backpack to truly hike through national parks,” Robinson said. “It’s a learning opportunity, so we want to piggy back on what we’ve been learning through the year about the national parks.”

For more, visit the Union Elementary PTO Facebook page.

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