Middle school students help their community

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

BONO, AR (KAIT) - A group of Region 8 students embarked on a class project that will now help an entire community.

Westside Middle School teacher Lindsey Frisbee wanted to apply 6th-grade math skills to the real world.

She asked students to come up with and design a dog park incorporating the mathematics of measurements and financial budgets.

Bono Mayor Danny Shaw said he was impressed with the idea.

"Ms. Frisbee, put this thing together," Shaw said. "It was was an exercise to let her kids work with something in real life that would actually mean something that would give them an opportunity to learn and use measurements, distances, budgets and all those kinds of things."

Shaw said he was impressed with what the students came up with.

"It was a brilliant thing that she did," Shaw said. "These kids jumped into it and they loved doing this and they loved this. And they put a ton of work into these programs and plans. Some of them did it individually and some of them did it as a team. So, they worked on a dog park and each of them had their own ideas of what to call the dog park, the shape it ought to be, amenities that should be there. And it was just a wonderful thing."

Student Lanie Welch said she and her partner wanted their park to say 'dog'!

"My partner and I made a layout of a paw print," Welch said. "We wanted it to remind you of a dog. We divided the paw print into four sections. The fingertips were separated into small, medium and large dogs. Then the main entrance, play area, dog store and food court were in the other main part of the paw."

Mayor Shaw was so excited about their ideas, that he's looking into building a dog park. And many of the students' ideas are going to be used.

"The city of Bono is going to look in the future, maybe later this year, at the possibility of doing a small dog park in our Bono city park," he said. "We will, I'm sure, use some of these ideas. Where all of these were wonderful, there was not any one that was just a gem. But they all had gems in their plans. So, we're going to be excited to look at that later."

Shaw said the students' work was incredible.

"The kids never cease to amaze me," Shaw said. "I get the opportunity to work with the kids at Westside a lot on a lot of different things. It's amazing that they come up with the ideas that they do and I'm very privileged to have that opportunity."

Students say they learned a lot on this project.

"I was excited, like really excited," Welch said. "I learned how to pay for everything and how to arrange everything for the dog park and it was really fun."

"I learned about how you have to budget your money," said 6th grader Iliana Mancila. "You have to think about how things will be placed, the perimeter, the area, and all that good math stuff."

Shaw said when he decided to pursue a park because of the students work, he wanted to let them know about it and asked if they'd like to do even more.

"We talked about the possibility of getting a grant for the dog park," Shaw said. "There would be some grants available from several different sources. And most of those grants would be a matching grant where we'd have to supply part of the money and the grant would supply part of the money. So, I asked the kids if they would be interested in doing a fundraiser to help raise that half of the match. And they were very excited about that as well. So, what we may do is have a 'dog wash' day where people come and bring their dogs and the kids are going to give their dog a bath and take donations for that. We may also take photos of the dog and the owner and catalog that so if the dog becomes missing that we find it and know who the owner is. And then also maybe do a shop clinic or even possibly a spay and neuter clinic that we could all do in conjunction with raising money for that grant."

Students at Westside said they're thrilled to see their hard work become a reality.

"I was so surprised," Mancilla said. "I was like, 'Oh, my goodness.' And what were people going to think when they saw this? Were they going to like it? Or would they be impressed and think 'wow' and that maybe their ideas can become great things."

Fellow student Mallie Felts said she is equally excited. "Because I know dogs need to get out more and don't need to be cooped up in a house all day."

Student Remington Crain said it's about making a difference.

"We learned that it would be a great opportunity," Crain said. "For our community and the dogs so they'll have more free space to run and play and so people can get exercise with their dogs."

Shaw said they have land they're looking at in the Bono City Park.

"If we have a place where people can come and take their dog and get some exercise and let it interact with other dogs and possibly do some training, then that would be good," he said.

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