Students move into new May Street School wing

The grocery sack convoy trekked across the school yard Oct. 29.

Fifth-graders bore books and supplies in paper bags to begin the move to their new classroom at May Street School.

"If you have any junk, now would be a good time to recycle," teacher Kelvin Calkins told the class as they got ready. The desks, the books and study materials, classroom supplies, maps and other items would be moved by Calkins and other staff that afternoon.

With construction finally done on the school's new wing, it was the students' final day in the 30-year-old portable, the only such structure used as a fulltime classroom in Hood River County Schools.

Construction delays kept students out of the new wing more than a month longer than expected; over the summer school officials had expressed hope of moving in around Labor Day.

From Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 the other fourth and fifth-grade classes, housed in the main building, will move into the new wing. Second and third-graders will shift into the upper-grade rooms next week, according to principal Dan Patton.

But Calkins' classroom, long the satellite, moved first.

"It feels better," Ariel Larson said. "It's a little disappointing because it's smaller (than the portable) but we're not going to be out here all by ourselves."

Calkins agreed.

"It was nice to be out of the traffic a little, but it's also nice to be closer to everything else," he said.

Calkins has taught in the portable for six years including when it sat on the very ground where the new four-room wing was built starting in June.

At that time, the portable was moved to the school's tennis courts as an interim measure during construction. This fall, that meant one huge difference for students: no plumbing.

"We get a drinking fountain," said Jesse Schull when he was asked what he liked about moving to a new classroom.

"The new room is smaller but it gets to be heated, instead of cold out here," he said.

The students had heard the room was smaller, but they had not actually seen it until after they'd bagged up their stuff and carried it to the new wing. Then they got their first look. It was an exciting moment.

They gazed at the ceilings, touched the walls, admired the carpets.

McKenzie Lynch stood in the middle of the room and smiled.

"It just looks huge -- and it's clean," she said. "I think it's going to be a good place to learn."

After their short tour of their new classroom, the students returned to the portable for the day's final hour -- and one last math test in the old building.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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