Springing into the a host of upcoming events

Published 1:08 pm Saturday, March 17, 2018

Edwina Harder

Gifted and Talented Coordinator for Austin Public Schools

Signs of spring are becoming more evident each day, from the return of the robins to longer daylight hours. In the world of education, spring also has numerous signs, including spring sports, end-of-year events, and preparations for summer or the next school year.

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Additionally, there are several spring events sponsored by Austin’s Gifted and Talented program to look forward to.

The Richard Eberhart Poetry contest is a spring fixture at Austin Public Schools. Students who choose to participate write an original poem (this year we received poems from 149 students!), and a team of judges meets to choose up to three finalists from each building. Then, the finalists read their poems at our annual poetry night before the winner from each school is announced.

This year, our poetry night will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10 at the Hormel Historic Home, and the public is welcome to attend.

Another spring event that many students enjoy is the “Young Authors, Young Artists” conference in Rochester. This event consists of numerous sessions giving students the opportunity to develop their creative writing and artistic skills. Students in fourth to eighth grades can apply to participate in this annual event. Sixth through eighth grade students attend the event in the fall, while fourth through sixth graders have theirs in May. Each building has a process for determining who will represent them at this event. Past students who have attended report that the conference is has been greatly inspiring.

In early May, there will be a banquet held for Austin High School graduates who have earned high distinction. These students attend the banquet with their family, and honor a teacher who played an important part in their journey. This event celebrates the accomplishment of many years of hard work.

The Gifted and Talented program also works in partnership with the Hormel Foundation to award two scholarships to the annual Minnesota Institute for Talented Youth (MITY) “Expand Your Mind” summer camp. This year’s winners, ninth-grader Emily Curtis and eighth-grader Lucy Masara, will travel to Macalester College for two weeks this summer to attend a MITY class of their choosing.

We are grateful for The Hormel Foundation’s generous sponsorship of these scholarships.

Finally, the Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Symposium runs from Tuesday, June 19 to Thursday, June 21. This conference provides an opportunity for educators, counselors, administrators and parents to gain greater understanding of the needs of gifted and high potential students. There will be a Leadership Academy on June 19 and a Parents Day on June 20. Registration information can be found online at www.gtsymposium.org.

As you can see, spring is a busy time in our schools. Gifted and Talented education is proud to support opportunities for Austin’s students.