ELIZABETHTOWN — Some Bladen County students haven’t stopped learning despite the summer break, and, in true Dickens fashion, they’re learning about their town.
Last week, students in Debra McKoy’s class at Childcare Network were learning about municipalities. Kids ages 5 to 12 visited the Special Ops museum in Fayetteville on Tuesday, and on Friday, McKoy’s class was transformed into a mock Elizabethtown.
“They did all this on their own,” said McKoy, gesturing around the room.
A bright sign bearing the words “Fashionista Salon” was displayed on the wall on the left, designating a space with a customer chair. A full-length mirror stood to the side of the chair, and 7-year-old Tucker Smith and his assistant were busy beautifying customers. Girls of all ages had obviously visited the salon, and had let Tucker apply various reds, pinks, and neutrals in eye shadow, lipstick, and blush.
“You all look beautiful,” said Elizabethtown Mayor Pro Tem Rufus Lloyd, the guest speaker for the day’s activities.
During his visit, Lloyd talked to the 16 children about inspiration.
“As we go through life, we need to be inspired or encouraged by other people,” he explained to the kids. “I’ve no doubt each and every one of you has been inspired by someone — it may be your teacher, or a Bladen Journal photographer, or your parents, or someone you’ve seen on TV, like a baseball player, nurse or police officer.
“We all are inspired by someone, and we’re all different,” he continued. “It takes all of us to make a town work. We need the gas stations, and the restaurants, and the clothing stores.”
After encouraging the children to tour the Town Hall and meet municipal leaders, Lloyd made the rounds of the mini town, even letting Tucker use him as a subject to hone his skills.
In the corner of the room stood a Bladen Journal newsroom, where Jace Butler and Jadarius McArthur were distributing mock newspapers.
“Are we going to be in the real newspaper?” asked Jace with wide eyes.
In the far corner stood a Melvin’s restaurant, where guests and children alike turned in tickets for hot dogs and freshly popped, seasoned popcorn.
By the window on the far wall was a Burney’s Sweets & More, where kids were distributing chocolate or vanilla ice cream, cookies, and Burney’s croissants.
Each stand was manned by students in the class, and McKoy patiently explained how to prepare hot dogs or fix ice cream cones, encouraging the children to do it themselves. The well-mannered children offered the goodies to guests first, then to their classmates.
“They’ve been so excited about this,” said McKoy. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.