Ozark Students Go “Down Under” for 2011 Cultural Focus

Students at Ozark East Elementary School are celebrating life Down Under during this year’s cultural focus on Australia and New Zealand that included a school assembly and community open house today.

The project is supported by a $1,500 Conco Arts Program grant awarded by the CFO’s Rural Schools Partnership program. Art Teacher Cyndi Shepherd used the grant funds to create a multi-media learning experience that included a variety of hands-on art projects, a visit from Dickerson Park Zoo animals, and a live performance of native dance by members of the Island of Fire show in Branson.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is a student-art interpretation of the Great Barrier Reef, which was produced in neon colors vibrantly lit by blacklight. Other student art projects are on display throughout the school.

Beginning next week, each class in the school will have a chance to tour the walk-through Great Barrier Reef as their cultural focus continues. Shepherd said she was inspired to create an annual cultural focus on a particular area of the world after receiving a Fulbright Scholarship for a visit to Japan in 2001.

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