Union Middle School kicks off 50th year with their All for All assembly
Nov 07, 2018 10:37AM
● By Jana Klopsch
Eighth-grade student and teacher teams at Union Middle School compete during the second round of the school’s All for All assembly by eating Big Macs and apple pies. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | firstname.lastname@example.org
Teams paraded in under their nation’s flag — Brazil, Chile, Japan, Kenya, Mongolia, Morocco — to Olympic music. In a sense, it was the opening ceremony to the school year, only these aren’t teams competing for a gold medal, but for the All for All Rock.
The granite rock, with a Union Middle School’s crest, was the goal for students to earn by competing first through a series of yelling, cheering and reciting the school chant in unison, then through a series of challenges.
“It’s a way for the school to unify through the grade level teams,” Principal Kelly Tauteoli said about the school’s second annual All for All assembly. “It’s also a way for our students to get connected to one another and to our teachers.”
As part of the fun, a portion of the challenge was tied to the school’s 50th birthday this year. Students could see photos in a slide show and in a display case from 1968, and even see the same faculty photo replicated with the 2018 faculty.
Each round of the competition was introduced by student leaders and judged by School Resource Officer Zach Henrichsen, former Union assistant principal Steve Dimond, and former Union administrative professional Marjoe Back.
Students are united by teams based on their academic area and named by country, so students learn more about that part of the world, Union Achievement Coach Amy Kinder said.
“We’re giving kids an enriching experience and learning about a new culture,” she said. “Our countries represent some of where our student body is from.”
Before the first round, students, working with teachers, created cheers and learned about their country. They also reviewed, or for sixth-graders, learned, the school chant. That first was judged on the show of school spirit and direction of the students as they cheered at the signals of the student leaders for the grade, Assistant Principal Taylor Hansen said.
The second round found a student and a teacher from each of the six teams competing to see who could eat an apple pie and a Big Mac the fastest. However, there was a twist. Students couldn’t use their hands to eat their apple pies, but teachers were able to hold onto their two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickle and onion on a sesame-seed bun.
“We selected apple pies since they were first introduced in 1968,” Hansen said. “We thought this would be a fun way to have students cheer on their teams.”
Hansen said the next challenge was the decade trivia, where questions were asked about each of the past five decades.
“We also had a lot of students googling about what happened 50 years ago, as well as through each decade,” he said.
The questions ranged from what historic space event happened in 1968 to which blockbuster film directed by Stephen Spielberg was released in the 1980s. There was even a question about which two teams competed in this year’s World Cup.
The competition continued, with sporadic random student winners announced between rounds and being rewarded with a bag of carrots to a can of vegetables.
“Our SBO thought it would be fun, so they took on getting prizes since we can only have so many students on stage,” Hansen said.
Before the competition, students also could get points through a capture the flag game, where they could find country flags and scan them on their cellphones.
While team Chile won the All for All Rock, all students benefitted from the competition.
“Our big thing is to have school connectiveness,” Hansen said, adding that other spirit and service days are planned throughout the year. “We know once students are connected to the school, their academic skills and successes increase.”
Assistant Principal Shelly Karren agrees.
“Our goal is to make our learning environment where they want to be,” she said. “We want everyone to be valued and belong.”