Introductions made for a vast array of choices

Dec. 18, 2013 @ 10:08 PM

Wearing a black leotard and a pink tutu, Tessa Hocker posed in front of a second grade class at Zeb Vance Elementary School. The balls of her feet were turned out completely, her heels slightly separated, and arms outstretched from her sides, which is the second position in ballet.

The 14-year-old was demonstrating the ballet positions with her teacher, Alecia Lakernick, who owns Ballet Arts All-Stars in Henderson, for Hobby Day at Zeb Vance on Wednesday.

“Did you know that all the players on the Duke and UNC football teams are required to take ballet class?” Lakernick asked the class. “If you are an athlete, you have to be quick and flexible, and have your brain and body working all as one.”

Lakernick was joined by more than a dozen other presenters who each gave short presentations on topics from bird watching and bell ringing to martial arts and rubber stamping.

Valerie Hairston, the school counselor, said she organized Hobby Day to give students an opportunity to consider hobbies that may mature into lifelong interests or even careers for them.

Fifth-grade students Adamari Torres, Rebecca Currin, Ny’asia Taylor and Dashawn Garland listened to presentations about bell ringing, cake decorating, bowling and boating.

While munching on frosted cupcakes, they admitted that cake decorating was their favorite one.

Still, they said each session taught them something new.

“I learned that everyone has to wear the right kind of life jacket on a boat,” said Torres who was referring to the boating presentation by Zeb Vance Principal Anne Garrison, who showed the students various types of life vests for people of different ages.

Garland said he learned about the history of bowling, which he didn’t realize is centuries old.

“They started bowling a long, long time ago,” Garland said.

Dustin Pulley and Qwavon Shearin also gleaned new information from the bowling presenter, Randy Currin of Carolina Lanes.

Shearin said he didn’t realize there are more than 1 million bowlers in the country.

“He said if you play three games of bowling, it’s the same as running one mile,” Shearin said.

Pulley said he was surprised to learn that bowling balls were once made of wood.

The first grade students heard from Angie Rowland and her 2-year-old black Labrador Starkey about the importance of community animal shelters.

“An animal shelter is a place where animals go who don’t have a home,” said Rowland, a volunteer with Ruin Creek Animal Protection Society. “If you have a pet dog, do you want them to have puppies?”

“Yes,” one first-grade boy responded, “So, then I can sell them.”

Rowland explained that he didn’t need to sell puppies because animal shelters are already full of stray pets.

“If people buy puppies from you, then there won’t be enough homes for all the dogs in the shelters,” she said.

Rowland emphasized the significance of spaying and neutering pets, adding that some dogs can give birth to more than 10 puppies.

“Even though you are in first grade, do you think you can still help animals?” Rowland asked at the end of her presentation.

“Yes!” the kids replied.

“Yes,” she echoed. “Anyone can help animals.”

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.