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A day in the life of a Pine Hills 5th grader

October 6, 2011

By Chad Gamboa, Tenny Snyder, Kayla Matteo, Michael Bellizzi, Thomas McDonald, and Scott Lawson

Michael Bellizzi works with fifth-grader Abigail Sitterly

Fifth grade students at Pine Hills Elementary School welcomed visiting journalism students from The College of Saint Rose Thursday during a special workshop in teacher Lucy Gould’s fifth grade writing class. After nearly a month into the school year, students talked about their favorite classes and activities.
Along with learning the fundamentals of journalism, students served as sources in a story about what it means to go to school in the Pine Hills community. Here’s what the students had to say:

For Prethe Mohiuddin, Social Studies is appealing because “you get to learn a lot of new things,” like “the theory of the land bridge” during the Ice Age. Classmate Mehreen Khan likes Social Studies because “you get to learn about the past.”

Kayla Matteo works with fifth-grader Maxwell McNulty

Science class is especially attractive to Adam Bruce because he studies different rocks including the ones he doesn’t have in his own rock collection.

One mathematician in the group, Zack Maycock, said: “The reason I like math is because I like to solve problems and I’m really good at math.” Diamond Tibbs likes math too, because she thinks counting is fun.

Art student Maxwell McNulty and his classmates are participating in a contest with the Holiday Lights in the Park project, sponsored by the Police Athletic League.  Winners of the top three designs have their creations turned into real light displays, and, they celebrate with a pizza party.

While some students have their sights set on short-term goals, like contest prizes, others are already planning for the future. Jessicah Dorsey said she wants to be a veterinarian or a teacher.

“Mrs. Gould is a good writing teacher. She teaches us a lot about history too,” said Samuel

Scott Lawson talks with Zack Maycock about what he does after school


When the fifth graders are not toiling in the classroom, many are students athletes and artists in their extracurricular endeavors.

Mario Tapia and Melanie Toala love playing rugby in gym class because it is one of their favorite sports. The students have gym on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 8:15 or 11:35 am. They play a lot of different sports including soccer, football, kickball, tag games, jump rope, and baseball.

Some students find athletics away from school, at Pop Warner football where Anthony Padilla plays guard.

Chad Gamboa works with fifth-graders at Pine Hills Elementary School

“I like the gym teacher Mr. Eastman because he sometimes make jokes and he’s a really great teacher,” said Ferit Brace.

Besides gym, students also relish their recess time. “I normally play basketball and football with my friends,” said D’Siah Moody. “I love recess.”

After school, the students participate in a number of activities, from step team to dance team.

Shaneka Durr loves dance team “because you learn different moves… and different kinds of dance.”

Dance team meets every Thursday after school. “I like dance because you can learn about different people who did dance on different kinds of dance teams,” said student Abigail Sitterly. A step team also meets Friday and Saturdays. They travel and enter competitions.
“The best thing about step is that we to go on trips, like to the Palace,” said Taezi Washington. Camielah Widman likes learning new steps with her teacher.

“I make my own steps up and I sometimes do it at home,” said Jasmine Horne. One student,

Tenny Snyder works with Razaun White

Aasian Tibbs, aspires to get famous someday doing step.

Students at Pine Hills also participate in chorus, band, and orchestra during the school day. The semester culminates with a special holiday performance in front of the entire school.

For chorus, said Logan Marrero,  “we get to dress up real fancy for the holidays because we sing.”
Anyone who wants to sing can join chorus, which appeals to Shawnett Haye. Step and dance have tryouts and a selection process.
Another musician in the class is Razaun White, a saxophonist in the band.
“If you become a really good player you get to go to all-city,” he said.

Aasain Tibbs talks with Tom McDonald

Violinist Angelina Dennis knows the tune Twinkle Twinkle Little Star best. “Sometimes on Tuesdays we go to violin lessons and we practice what we’re going to learn for our concerts.”

After students talked about journalism and the day of a fifth grader, the children received the Saint Rose student newspaper, The Chronicle, a journalism tip sheet and pens. Fifth graders topped off the day with a final request – for autographs from the college journalism students. -30-

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