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Parkwood Middle holds annual ‘rumble’

These Parkwood Middle School students dress in period garb in honor of the school’s eighth-annual “Rumble.” Pictured, from left, are Parisa Nourestai, Delia Bender, Kayla Hobbs, Eric Hatley, Zack Martin, Austin O’Shields, Alma Perez, Kayce Lemmonds and Courtney Owens.

About 300 Parkwood Middle School students enjoyed turning back the pages of time Friday during its eighth-annual “Rumble” 1960s-style.
The “rumble” has been an annual event at the school for the past eight years. “The first year it was small; just my class,” said event organizer Linda Hatley, an eighth-grade teacher at Parkwood Middle. “We ordered pizza and had three cars show up. By last year, we had 20 cars and a radio station broadcasting live. Local venders bring concessions. This event is now open to the entire eighth-grade class.”
This year’s celebration included 1950s/60s music, a classic car show, food, fun and various athletic competitions between students who recreated the characters Greasers and the Soc’s, portrayed in the book “The Outsiders.” This book is the basis for the theme of the school’s event.
The classic “The Outsiders,” written by S.E. Hinton, is the story of Ponyboy Curtis, who faces a daily battle with the gang culture of 1960s America. Ponyboy is a “Greaser” and he and his gang battle the “Soc's.”
“I’m a firm advocate in the fact that learning can be fun,” Hatley said. “If kids can make a connection to it, chances are they’ll remember it longer.”
Hatley said the event is a combination of fun and a learning experience. She hoped by having the students reenact the book through the event, it would bring the novel to life.
“If you can give students some connection to it, it increases their desire and love of reading, and they’re more likely going to remember it. And part of it is to give them a day to socialize and to be able to understand their heritage of the past, especially with these cars and the music; to be able to realize the generations that have gone before them.”
Students not only have a day in the sun, the experience is also a time to unwind after finals. “It’s about all of us trying to have fun, a day off after all the EOGs,” said 13-year-old Keisha Huntley, who noted the lessons she learned from reading “The Outsiders.”
“It taught me never to judge people by the way they look and always treat people all the same,” Keisha said. “You can’t treat someone differently because they’re a different class.”
Zack Martin, 14, also learned some valuable lessons from reading the book. “When someone dies, others can’t stop living,” he said. “In the book, Johnny dies and Ponyboy is trying to deal with it. At the end of the story, he ends up writing a story, which turns out to be the book. I enjoyed the book, and I think being outside and getting to act like a ‘greaser’ and ‘soc’s’ is a great way to learn.”
Hatley said the day also gives the community an opportunity to make a connection with Parkwood Middle School. “If we truly are going to be the type of community that has a vested interest in our students, then it’s important to involve the community in that process. It’s a great way to pull all of that together.”  
Students were able to enjoy seeing first-hand cars of the era thanks to local antique car owners, which included Kenny Proctor and his 1957 Black Belair, Gene Deese’s 1957 Chevy Nomad Wagon, Jay Hinson’s 1970 Chevy Truck and Rose Hamlin’s 1970 Chrysler Cordorba. Hatley and her husband, Mick, brought their own antique car, a 1955 Chevrolet Belair, that originally belonged to her father-in-law, Van Hatley.
The event was a lot of work, but Hatley said it’s worth it. “When I see these students five or six years later, they say that one of their favorite things about middle school was the rumble.  They still talk about it. It’s exciting to see that it stuck with them.”

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, Publications Coordinator
Posted: Jun 03, 2008 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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