The Culture Department hosted their annual Culture Open House at Pemayetv Emahakv Charter School on May 24, displaying each student’s arts and crafts. Pieces included beaded daisy chains and pen covers, medallions, earrings, sweetgrass baskets, traditional Seminole dolls, pillows and potholders.
“We start small,” lead arts and crafts teacher Janelle Robinson said. “Our kindergarteners and first-graders pretty much do the same thing. We start basically teaching them the colors and how to pick up the beads, threading needles and then we go on to harder projects. We just try to progress and go onto the more difficult as the higher grades do.”
The students showed off their craftsmanship to family members, teachers and classmates.
“There are a lot of people that can’t get into here on a daily basis to see what we are doing,” Robinson said. “Just this morning we had a teacher come in and say, ‘Second grade did this?’ and I was like ‘Yes, ma’am.’”
The Open House also featured Creek language demonstrations in their classrooms.
“It is our time to shine,” fifth-grade student Krysta Burton said.
Creek language teachers Jimi Lu Huff and Myra Gopher tested the students on their Creek sounds and words, and in the more advanced classes, they conducted games in which students raced against each other to answer correctly.
“It’s important because a lot of kids don’t get it at home,” Robinson said. “It is not being taught on a daily basis like it was before.”
For fifth-grade student Alicia Fudge, her arts and crafts projects brought out her creativity.
“It is fun,” she said. “You get to do your own ideas and pick your own colors.”
Fudge said making medallions was “easy and fast,” but she is a little nervous about next year’s sixth-grade project: sweetgrass baskets.
Seminole history was also showcased during the Open House. Within their Seminole history classes, students learned about the different foods their ancestors lived off of. To give them hands-on experience, the students maintained a garden throughout the school year.
Following a slideshow presentation, students led visitors to the garden to see what they had produced – squash, tomatoes and corn.
Reina Micco, a former Culture teacher and a parent of two students, said she was really impressed to see how much more the kids are doing.
“To see that they can be creative with what they are given is great,” she said. “It is good to see them continue to learn. The school was based on the culture, and artsand crafts shows that.”