GREENBRIER — The Greenbrier School Board was recently treated at their monthly meeting with the skillful demonstration of cup stacking by fourth- and fifth-grade students from Eastside Elementary school.
Under the leadership of physical education teacher Melba Kansaki, they excited all who watched with their dexterity and speed in stacking and unstacking all kinds of cups. Kansaki explained, "These kids have caught the fever and give up recess once a week to practice this new sport." As board members, parents, teachers and other students watched in awe, the children demonstrated while using all different kinds of cups.
Cup stacking, also known as sport stacking or speed stacking, was founded in 1985 and received national attention in 1990 on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. The motto is to "Stack Fast!" pyramids of three, six or 10 cups in sequences while competing against the clock or another player or another team. Specially designed plastic cups, made to prevent sticking to one another and with holes in the bottom to allow air to pass through quickly when stacking, come in all different kinds of colors and sizes. The children used green solar cups that change color in the sun, neon cups, trainer cups, thimble size cups and even fire-flame designed cups. Kansaki went on to explain, "This game is good for right brain and left brain improvement." Players learn cooperation, ambidexterity and hand-eye coordination. It can be played with pairs or singles or teams.
The world record stands at 5.93 seconds for a whole cycle. The latest new twist on this challenging game is to use 12-inch trash can size cups where one must use their whole body to move the "cups." This is especially helpful for little kids. There are many different, challenging and always speedier ways to play this game, and these students are looking forward to a tournament at the end of the school year. They will be performing for Toad Suck Daze and they do special demonstrations throughout the school year.
A report on the construction of the new school building was all positive. Although they were just a bit behind during the past rainy season, they are almost caught up and are looking forward to opening on schedule in August. Rooms are being painted in the north wing, sheet rock is up and they are beginning to finalize some of the furniture plans. Outside perimeter work has also started.
The National East Conference was held in Hot Springs March 2-4 this year with more than 2,000 students and facilitators from eight states representing 185 EAST programs.
EAST is an educational initiative to make learning better for students, teachers and for society. Students perform service learning projects. They see needs in their communities and work to meet those needs by using the latest in technology to solve those problems. Students take it upon themselves to learn as much as they can because they care about the outcome. There is no lecture; there are no tests. The students are in control.
Kim Austin, GHS EAST facilitator, announced Greenbrier High School EAST Program received the Program of Excellence Award — the highest possible rating and is one of the top four in the nation. Nine students worked tirelessly after school and during Christmas break to create their video and portfolio of projects and were introduced to the Board. They are Zoe Boles, John Dillon Welter, AnneDella Hines, Misti Hollenbaugh, Brannon Daniels, Jarrett Alexander, Calvin McNabb, Heather Bound and Sarah Tillman. They also won the Founder’s Competition Award and showed the several prizes awarded for their school. Those prizes were a state-of-the-art GPS TerraSync Unit, a high definition flip video camera, 3-D animation software and a laptop keyboard with software.
Clair Alexworth was honored as State Student of the Year for her work in organizing a high school drive to gather more than 1,500 items for kids in need. Dr. Lisa Todd, assistant superintendent, also honored many other teachers for their "above and beyond" work. Honors went to Tracey McAllister, Media Specialist of the Year, and Jennifer Richards, Arkansas Educator of the Year 2009.