Gifted Showcase and Cultural Celebration

Peebles Gifted Showcase
By: Todd Martin
Celebrating a successful school year, Peebles Elementary School welcomed students and families to see a gifted project showcase, visit classrooms and even watch a variety of cultural dances.
“We want to have our families come and see what their children have been working on and we want to continue to build a sense of community,” said Norma Romero-Komlofske, campus instructional specialist at Peebles.
During a similar gathering last semester, Principal Carol Correa said more than 600 family members participated. The end-of-year version Tuesday also packed the cafeteria.
The event served as both a family literacy night, encouraging parents to continue to read to students and also showcased Gifted and Talented projects.
Seven students showed their research projects, which focused on creative ways to solve problems like global hunger and diminishing species and to improve infrastructure and purify water sources.
Third-grader Kensley Alvarez designed a habitat that would occupy a space beneath the Amazon River to safeguard the rare, but real, freshwater pink dolphin that lives there.
There are only 1,200 of the pink dolphins in existence, Alvarez said. Her research indicated that high amounts of mercury endanger the mammal and only one South American country outlaws fishing for it.
Her idea – the Kensley Dolphin Rehabilitation Center – would serve as a sort of under-river aquarium mimicking the creature’s natural habitat.
Another third-grader, Isabell Alvarez, wanted to tackle hunger and came up with an idea to use 3D printing technology to produce food.
She studied the inventor of 3D printing and built her own paper version of one. “I wanted to come up with a way to help poor people,” said Isabell Alvarez. She envisioned putting paper into a machine and printing out food.
Families visited classrooms and benefited from book and board game giveaways. They also watched cultural dance groups perform.
Peebles school counselors Judy Hughes and Vanessa Trejo dressed as book character Olivia and the Cat in the Hat to read in English and Spanish the book Olivia, about a gifted child.
A week before, Killeen ISD hosted its first districtwide Bilingual Family Literacy Night open to families served by bilingual and ESL from elementary through high school.
Five schools provide bilingual programs at the elementary level – Harker Heights, Trimmier, Peebles, Pershing Park and Oveta Culp Hobby.
Participants at that event at the Jackson Professional Learning Center chose from workshop sessions and ate sandwiches, chose books and enjoyed cultural entertainment together.
The evening, aimed at family literacy, addressed academic resources available for parents to take home and understanding curriculum and graduation requirements.
“We want to make connections with parents so they can understand how to use learning strategies at home,” said KISD Bilingual Specialist Eileen Lebron de Benitez.
“We have some parents who want to understand how to help at home. We want to see where this can grow and reinforce what is happening at the campus level.”