Dear Jasper and Kestrel,
Here in Salinas, the biggest event of the year is the Salinas Rodeo, which happens in July. Salinas was founded as a ranching and farming town and horses, cows and cowboys have always been a big part of it. Today, our school got a visit from Janice Lemons. She brought our Cowboy assembly as part of the national “Cowboys for Kids” program.
First, Janice gave us interesting information about rodeo riding. A cowboy needs to stay on a bucking bull for 8 seconds to qualify for a win, and since every contest is only 8 seconds long, each bucking bronco bucks for about a total of five minutes in a whole year. She also showed us what equipment cowboys use to stay safe and keep their horses, and even the bulls, safe.
The sport of rodeo is the only sport based on a real life profession. Janice told us about rodeo clowns and how they distract the bulls and horses so cowboys can get out of the arena safely.
Then Janice got to what was, for me, the important part of the assembly. She introduced us to the expression “Cowboy up”, which means to be tough and resolute in your heart and mind, to do what you know is right even when it’s hard. It means standing your ground against drugs, gangs, and bullying.
I enjoyed the assembly very much. I am not a fan of the sport of Rodeo, but I like Janice’s presentation style and her message about inner strength. The kids were very engaged and polite. My students who needed to sit to the side did multiplication tables while they listened.
We went straight from the assembly to recess, and then to our room next door to finish up the movie, “Island of the Blue Dolphins”. This is a movie my co-teacher, Leslie Carter, has been using for years…for so long, in fact, that it is on VHS video tape. Three classes of kids sat, really riveted, watching a small television set and technology that was old when they were born.
This afternoon my students went, in small groups, to other classrooms to perform their Reader’s Theater plays. They are enjoying it very much, and the classes seem to like it, but having groups coming and going makes for a fragmented afternoon. Mostly, the kids colored and I packed books into boxes for the end of the year move to Room 26.
We only have seven more days of school, and then I come back home to Portland!