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Big Y grants holiday wish of James Clark Elementary students

Date: 5/7/2019

AGAWAM – “Every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head. A million dreams are keeping me awake. I think of what the world could be. A vision of the one I see. A million dreams is all it’s gonna take. A million dreams for the world we’re gonna make.”

The lyrics from “A Million Dreams,” a song from the 2017 film “The Greatest Showman,” seemed to fit perfectly into the theme of James Clark Elementary School in Agawam’s assembly on April 26. Grade 3 and 4 students performed a choral rendition of the song to open the assembly, singing along with erupting speakers playing pop artist P!nk’s version of the song.

The assembly was hosted as a thank you to Big Y Foods, who recently donated $5,000 to James Clark Elementary School for use in their STEAM program. The STEAM program focuses on the subjects of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.

For students of the STEAM program, the lyrics about a young child dreaming of what his future will hold represents the wonder behind the many STEAM subjects and projects.

The grade 3 and 4 students remained on stage behind elementary STEAM teacher Tammy Rumplik as she delivered a gratitude speech to a room filled with students, faculty and Big Y Foods representatives. Above the third and fourth graders was a bright yellow thank you poster for Big Y Foods, created by the students.

During her speech, Rumplik quoted inventor Walt Disney. “In the words of Walt Disney, ‘We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading up down new paths,’” Rumplik said.

Rumplik shared that she loves teaching as part of the STEAM program. “I love doing what I do and want to continue doing it for as long as I can,” Rumplik said.

Rumplik suffers from a medical condition that makes it difficult for her to walk. She explained that it could often be painful, but that her students keep her positive. “These kids inspire me. It may be a day when I’m on the verge of tears, but the minute I ride into the classroom, that all goes away,” Rumplik said.

Thanking Big Y Foods for their donation, Rumplik said, “Your gift to the STEAM program has made things better for me and the kids that I teach. With this equipment, I can better teach them those skills. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

James Clark Elementary School Grade 4 student Violet Pryce read an essay that was written collaboratively by the Grade 3 and 4 students to Big Y Foods to the crowd, sharing that it was the students’ “holiday wish” to receive funding to continue developing the STEAM program.

Pryce read, “It is important for our teachers like Mrs. Rumplik to help get us ready for our future such as college and even in older grades. We can learn future skills like teamwork because we are working in groups. We will need to know about technology so we can solve future problems.”

James Clark Elementary School principal Shelley Russell stood with representatives of Big Y Foods as they presented a large check to the students. The students cheered as the check was presented.

“It takes a community to bring up wonderful children. This will help support the development of students,” Russell said.

The presentation concluded with a live demonstration called “robotics in action.” The demonstration represented the work of the students in the STEAM program. A small robot was displayed on a tabletop with a pyramid of SOLO cups at the end. The robot used technology to register where the cups were located and directed itself to them, knocking them over.

At the end of the event, the students posed with the check and cheered, “Thank you, Big Y!”

The funding will be used for materials such as tablets that can be used in conjunction with the many subjects of the STEAM program.