Students showcase talents, smarts, enthusiasm at Coon Rapids MS

It was standing room only at Coon Rapids Middle School (CRMS) the evening of Feb. 21 when hundreds of families stopped by to marvel at students’ projects and performances during the school’s third annual Showcase Night.

Angela Sem pauses in a hallway-turned-art gallery as classmates and families enter to view Polish paper cutting, pen and ink drawings, paintings, pottery and more. Photo by Sue Austreng

Angela Sem pauses in a hallway-turned-art gallery as classmates and families enter to view Polish paper cutting, pen and ink drawings, paintings, pottery and more. Photo by Sue Austreng

“It’s an opportunity for the kids to kind of show off. There’s lots of really great stuff going on here,” said reading teacher Simone Simon.

Simon greeted students, families and community members entering the building for the two-hour event.

Every one of CRMS’s 1,250 students was asked to display or participate in one subject area, whether it be math, art, science, social studies, ELA, foreign language, tech ed, special education or music.

The Showcase Night open house welcomed people to tour the school and delight in a variety of student projects and artwork. There was even opportunity to participate in some fun activities.

Of course, parents were eager to see their child’s work, but students were just as eager to show off their work.

“I love to dance. Manny Davis is a mad, mad dancer,” said a smiling seventh-grader Manny Davis, a member of CRMS Show Choir, as he and his equally energetic cast members prepared to perform for those gathered in the auditorium.

Jonathan Barnes, a sixth-grader with eager ambitions to become an engineer, was just as enthusiastic about his science project.

Demonstrating the miniature roller coaster he designed and built using cardboard cones, Barnes said, “It took three days to design, one day to build and mine is sturdier than any of the others,” he said.

CRMS sixth-grader Angela Sem was happy to be at school for the showcase, too.

“I love all the new things I get to learn and I love seeing all the artwork and projects,” she said, standing in front of a display of name and number design drawings.

Cassie Anderson, an English teacher at the school who organized Showcase Night, said the event is good for students, but it’s good for parents, too.

“Many of our parents have had negative experiences in school themselves,” she said.

Some parents feel “dread” when coming to school for parent-teacher conferences, Anderson said.

“We have many parents come to Showcase Night, who would otherwise never come into our building, because it is a non-threatening environment,” she said. “The atmosphere is happy and light.”

“School has changed greatly since many adults have attended and Showcase Night is a wonderful way for families to see what their students are really accomplishing at CRMS.”

Sue Austreng is at sue.austreng@ecm-inc.com

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