May 16th was our final Australia Class with the students from Sacred Heart School. I am sure some of the students didn’t like it because we had a test. I’d rather not have a test but we actually have to grade the students so we split the grading into class participation, projects and the test. The students get to grade each other’s papers. They also got to fill out a survey rating the class and the teachers. We make sure it works both ways.
We then watched a video of Kendall Davis making modern boomerangs with power tools. His video most approached how I make boomerangs and showed a big difference from the video of Aborigines making them with “tommyhawks and files”.
Next was our Aussie tasting. We had Vegemite and crackers on hand. The students were brave and tasted it, but didn’t like it. They were rewarded for their efforts by getting ANZAC biscuits, a cookie made with flour, coconut, raisins, oatmeal and butter. I think they had seconds and thirds. ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps.
During the tasting session we had special guests. Sacred Heart School is part of the Catholic Diocese of Allentown which serves five counties in eastern Pennsylvania: Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuykill. Bishop John Barres, along with a some priests and principals from other schools in the Diocese had come to work to check out the Exploratory Class Program. We ended up with three groups of visitors to our class. hey asked the students and teachers about the classes and the program. One of the students told then that this class was the best! The students also presented the Bishop with a boomerang they had painted as a class.
One last thing was to view some actual “bush tucker”. Bush tucker is food found in the Australian bush country. One of my coworkers is from Australia and brought in witchetty grub, which is a rather large (4 inch?) white larva of a moth. this one is in a small wine bottle and he received it as a gag gift. He was pleased to be able to provide it for the class to see. Some of the students thought it was pretty gross.
Since this was the last class of the year, I need to thank a few people. First off, I want to thank Hasse Lindberg for supplying the boomerang blanks the class used. Thanks to David Fantone for getting those blanks to me. Thanks to Gary Broadbent for supplying Roomerangs for the class to decorate. Thanks to my employer for supporting this program and giving us a chance to do something in the community. And a very special thank you goes to my partner in this class, Hector Vazquez. Hector is a great guy and really works well with the students. Without Hector’s help, this class wouldn’t happen. He’s the best!