Great things are happening at Morris District 54. Students are busy with their studies, and the school year is off to a great start. We’ve seen our softball and baseball seasons end and basketball begin. Our cross country team had a huge number of student athletes, and our BBC and PTO events have been great successes. To see these exciting events, in and out of the classroom, fills me with pride and honor to be the district superintendent.
Recently, kindergarten students were eager to welcome various community helpers into their classrooms! Classes had just finished studying a section about the many members of the community who help us every day. Stranger danger was an important topic that a police officer talked to students about.
A firefighter showed children the many articles of clothing that they are required to wear and also explained that firefighters may look scary with their full gear on, but to never run away or hide in the event of a fire in the home. Students examined various crops and learned about the many different types of farm equipment from a local farmer.
Other community helpers present to discuss their positions in the community included a nurse, hairstylist, and a Marine. Many thanks to our local community members for making this fun event happen!
We also had a renowned author visit our students. Grades five through eight were treated by Scholastic Book Fairs to a special author visit Sept. 20 that turned out to be one spooktacular assembly filled with suspenseful ghost stories, unusual tales from the author’s childhood and lots of great dialogue between the author and our very own students.
Dan Poblocki is an American author of mystery and horror novels for young people. Some of his more well-known novels are “The House on Stone’s Throw Island,” “The Book of Bad Things” and “The Stone Child.” Dan Poblocki’s award-winning books have been called “ghostly ... grotesque ... eerie ...,” by Booklist and “fun and creepy in all the good ways,” by VOYA. “The Ghost of Graylock” and “The Haunting of Gabriel Ashe” were YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selections, as well as Junior Library Guild selections.
Poblocki is currently on tour promoting his brand-new ghostly tale of magic, mystery and the supernatural called “Shadow House: The Gathering,” and we were so excited that he made Morris Elementary one of his stops as he continues to make his way through the Chicago area! Poblocki held our students’ attention by retelling true ghostly encounters from his childhood, describing the process that goes into writing scary stories, explaining how chapter books are created and answering some fantastic questions from the audience. Everyone had such a wonderful time listening to Poblocki speak, and our students proved to be an amazing audience.
The event ended with the author meeting students who had purchased, or won, his books earlier and signing books for each and every student so that they might have a unique keepsake from such a memorable afternoon.
• Shannon Dudek is the superintendent of Morris School District 54. Community Pulse is a weekly column that provides a dedicated space for Grundy County-area nonprofits, schools, organizations and sometimes Morris Herald-News staff to share news and information about their organization.