Highland Elementary events get families, community involved

Kay Vasilakis

Between 35 and 50 people left their comfortable living rooms on Nov. 5 and took advantage of the opportunity for quality time with family members at Highland Elementary School’s first Community/Family Night.

Volunteers Tim Fifer, Howard Disney, Missy Taucher, Sharon Decker and Dana Maki; RMS eighth grade students Anahi Loya, Carlos Carnejo and Ana Villavazo; RHS student Montanah Matthies; and BOCES staff member Julie Zahnd shared Highland Elementary’s facility and their creativity to make a positive time for families. The night of tutoring in computer and math in the open library, as well as family hockey and basketball, was a successful start to the ambitious undertaking.

Fifer is the school counselor at Highland and states that whenever a student or parent steps foot on school grounds, the chances of that student succeeding are vastly improved. He is proud to provide families with an opportunity for learning and fun.

Fifer plans to continue Community/Family nights each Wednesday to help students achieve high academic goals and engage in high-interest activities. On Wednesday, Nov. 19, he has a potluck Thanksgiving Dinner planned along with the activities. Turkey will be provided. Way to go, Highland.


On Thursday, Nov. 6, the Rifle High School Spanish IV class visited Highland Elementary to read their own original bilingual children’s books to the school’s first grade classes.

Older students enjoyed interacting with the younger kids, and the first graders thought it was cool to be visited by high school students. Spanish-speaking students appreciated the older students reading to them in their native language.

“They did an incredible job with their projects,” said first grade teacher Kelly Bina. “They were also very patient and enthusiastic about sharing with our first graders.”

English as a Second Language teacher Karen Smith was impressed by the activity, which had all the students fully engaged, and hopes it will happen again in the future.


Over 45 Rifle Middle School Chess Club students in the fifth through eighth grades will compete in the Chess Tournament on Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the CMC Blake Center in Glenwood Springs.

“Students learn about concentration, patience, self-esteem, logical and higher-order thinking skills, strategy, being aggressive in a positive way, as well as problem solving out of tricky situations,” said Pam Schuckman, Rifle Middle School Chess Club sponsor.

“Chess is such a wonderful game; it promotes friendship among the least likely of kids and adults, is a great alternative to TV on cold or stormy nights, gives kids and adults a fun way to talk and solve problems, and it creates bonds between people,” she continued.


Re-2 Transportation Department’s Exceptional Bus Students for October are Jake Whaley from Wamsley Elementary, nominated by Route #3 driver Stacey Whaley; Jose Perez from Rifle Middle School, nominated by Route #14 driver Susan Steckel; and Sharae Smith from Rifle High School, nominated by Route #14 driver Susan Steckel.

Riverside Middle School is searching for parents and community members who would like to share their hobby or talent as an elective on a one-day basis on Dec. 19. This year’s theme is Winter Celebrations and Activities from Around the World. Please call Mrs. Humphrey at 625-7800 if you would like to offer an elective.

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