April 2, 2009

Blisters, bandaids and back-aching bliss

By Brenda L. Shelkey

Most teenagers, if given a choice, are likely to opt for the less difficult of two tasks. Not so for Underwood’s senior class. Long-time social studies teacher Toni Cottingham wasn’t surprised to hear that several of the seniors were interested in taking on a very physically challenging civics project without being asked. It all started during Cottingham’s PDP class (Problems of Democracy) Wednesday morning. Katrina Yellowbird had been listening to the news about flooding in Fargo and south Bismarck. During class Yellowbird asked if the seniors could get out of school to volunteer for sand bagging to help out the efforts to fight the flooding in south Bismarck. Yellowbird said, "When I suggested it to Mrs. Cottingham, she looked at me like I was kind of crazy, but I realized later it was just her thinking face." A couple of hours later, when Yellowbird found out her class was going to Bismarck to help sand bag, she said, "I was just so happy. I was excited because I really wanted to get down there and help." Cottingham laughed and said, "I probably did have a look on my face, because I was wondering myself how we could work this out." The group left it at that, but Cottingham had several of the seniors again after lunch in her college-level sociology class. The class was discussing social interaction and how much fun it is to see people work together to help other people in times of crisis.



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