Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
By William Kincaid
Parents like students' gifts
  COLDWATER - Some parents couldn't hold back tears after receiving a Christmas gift made by their children enrolled in a sixth-grade enrichment class, middle school Principal Jerry Kanney said.
Utilizing the school's new technology and middle school computer lab, students in the language arts/math class created DVDs showcasing pictures and videos of themselves from birth to present.
"I think every one of them (parents) that's talked to me has said what a neat thing," Kanney said.
Each student included a minimum of 15 pictures with captions, as well as video footage of themselves answering a series of questions, such as describing a special time with their family and what their parents mean to them.
Music played throughout many of the DVDs. One student even included tunes from the Beatles for his father, an avid fan, Kanney said.
Technology Director Casey Nuttle said he was impressed so many middle school boys were open with their emotions while being filmed.
Sixth-grade math instructor Connie May, who teaches the class with science teacher Beth Thomas, said the children openly shared their personal sentiments in front of other students while taping.
"I told them they would get an instant A if they made their parents cry," May said with a laugh.
The students worked on the project in November and December, with many learning about movie making and video editing for the first time.
"It was new to 99 percent of them," May said.
After teaching the students new computer applications, Nuttle said they immediately picked up the skills and he often found himself getting in the way.
The DVDs were intended to be a Christmas present but because of inclement weather and a few days off school, some of the parents didn't get a copy until later in January, Nuttle said.
May said she intends to assign a similar project for Mother's Day with the next group of students. The course is a semester enrichment class that all sixth-graders must take.
"That gives them the opportunity to do some things outside of the mainstream," Kanney said about the class.
In other recent Coldwater middle school news, Kanney announced that Daniel "Ruddy" Ruettiger - who was made famous in the 1993 movie "Rudy" for making the Notre Dame football team - will be the keynote speaker at this year's Get REAL (Responsible Enough About Life) Week.
Ruettiger is scheduled to speak at 6 p.m. April 30 in the palace gymnasium. Kanney said Ruettiger is trying to get some of his fellow Notre Dame team mates to come as well.
Last year, Coldwater hosted Olympic medalist and former world record holder Jim Ryun.
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