CLEVE BEACH, 4:20 P.M. - A class of second and third graders from Grinnell were surprised to find that Grinnell College’s Ignite program offered a special topics class taught by college students partaking in the Alice party.
“Today was the best class ever!” said seven year old Tony Rodriguez. “I learned about space!”
Ignite head coordinator Lauren Teckie elaborated on how this came about.
“We were forced to cancel painting, our most popular class, last minute. I then happened to see a group of students drawing with chalk on the south campus patio.
I asked them if they’d share with a group of thirty little kids, and was shocked at how enthusiastic they were!” said Lauren.
This isn’t the first time community programs and campus holidays have coincided. In 2007, Drake library’s photography class held a covert shooting exercise at 100 days. In 2012, the community meal coincided with the celebrated ‘4/20’, with positive results for the people participating in 4/20 and disastrous consequences for the people providing the food. In 2013, Grinnell’s Alcoholics Anonymous organized what students called the worst block party of all time.
This year, Ignite students joined Grinnellians celebrating Alice in a variety of activities, such as coloring with chalk, making paper airplanes, blowing big bubbles and engaging in a casual but thorough discourse on Roduex’s 1961 Metaphysics and the Mind, as per tradition.
“We truly couldn’t comprehend how receptive and trusting our little buddies were,” said Joshua Lee ’17, “like, I’m this little dot, this little nothing; who am I to transpose three light-years of celestial patterns onto the molecular makeup of Kimmy’s elbow skin? But she let me try. We thought…we thought we were taking care of them—but they were taking care of us” Lee concluded, wiping a tear from a dilated pupil.
“I looked into their eyes,” said a stoic Tamisha Dell, ’16. “And I never looked out.”
The Ignite students seemed awestruck by their teachers.
“Mr. Gabriel could hold music in his hands. Then he handed the end of “Stairway to Heaven” to me—it was soft like my gerbil!” declared Thomas.
“Miss Dell took all the girls to the Meditation Zone, had us cut a strawberry in half and “emotionally investigate” it. Then we each found one partner put the strawberry halves back together, and that’s how we all found out about Lila’s bad vibe. Her soul is moldy and full of hatred,” recalled Jane Dimple, a third grader. “But that’s oh-kay! I never talk to her anyway,” she said.
At the end of the day, parents were delighted to find Grinnell student-teachers intimately engaging with their children.
Some Grinnellians reportedly cried during pick-up. Others claimed they were siblings of the children, and demanded to be taken home and given a snack. Game theory professor Haley Schackman found her son writing “all the answers” on post-it notes attached to two of her students’ shaved scalps.
“I’m so glad they inspired the scientist in Tony. His teacher said he was old to enough to experiment. And look at all these cute little pieces of paper they gave us to bring home!” exclaimed Cogen Shoebody, an area mom.
Meanwhile, members of the education department celebrated the ‘astounding success’ and can’t wait to expand this program into other areas. “This was a huge success,” Mrs. Teckie, Ignite head-coordinator, said. “I can’t wait for the middle school’s sex education class to take their very first field trip to Titular Head next year.”