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Pecos Elementary School aims to build sense of community

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In a recent photo, a class of Kindergarten students at Pecos Elementary School show the T-shirts they helped decorate for children affected by Hurricane Harvey. (Submitted Photo)

Kirk Mundy, fifth grade teacher at Pecos Elementary School, makes sure his students have a grasp on what’s going on in the world around them.

“We watch CNN 10 News every morning,” Mundy said. “It’s important for the kids to know what’s going on around them. They saw the story on the news and that got them motivated.”
With kids in fifth grade starting to connect to their community in a stronger manner, Mundy felt they could understand some of the larger impacts of the storm.
“We have discussions about how the kids in the path of Harvey didn’t have school,” he said. “Some of the students got very emotional about it. Many of them drew pictures saying ‘We at Pecos Elementary support you.’”
Christy Herrington also teaches fifth grade at Pecos Elementary School. She noted that her students showed their generous hearts.
“A couple of the kids wrote jokes to help them laugh,” Herrington said. “We talked about how it would feel to go home one day and find that everything was gone. Some of the kids asked if they could write us back, or maybe move to Roswell.”
Teachers at Pecos Elementary School take responsibility to not only educate Roswell’s children, but also to integrate those children into the larger community. Dr. Barbara Ryan, principal at the school, involves her students in as many outreach programs as she feels can help her students to grow.
Rosa Ramos is a kindergarten teacher at Pecos. She said they took a slightly different approach with the youngest students.

“We were thinking about things that would be useful for the kids in the path of Harvey,” Ramos said. “The principal’s sister is a teacher in the Houston area, so she’s shipping everything to her to give out as she finds the need. We decided to do the shirts for kids that might not have any clothes, and to remind them that people care and that everything will come back to normal again.
“They enjoyed making the T-shirts once we showed them pictures of what was going on. We have a janitor here named Harvey and some of them asked if he had torn up Houston, so we explained that no he didn’t.”
Ramos said that the use of fairly tame pictures of Harvey’s devastation really helped the kids to understand.
“We showed them pictures that weren’t graphic,” she said, “just pictures of the water and the like. We asked them how they would feel if they had lost everything, what would they need. Some of them thought of jackets and blankets, so when we said we were doing T-shirts they were all for it. We have about 60 shirts going out.”
Caroline Martinez, a third grade teacher, was able to give her students a more personal understanding of the tragedy.
“We made bookmark hearts for the people of Texas,” Martinez said, “and what we said on it was ‘Our hearts are with you, Texas,’ to let other kids know our kids are thinking about them. I have family that got flooded out in Texas, so I talked with the students about that.”
Every class at Pecos Elementary School had its own project and Dr. Ryan, along with her sister, are grateful to be able to help the kids express their concerns.
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Features reporter Curtis M. Michaels can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.