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Jennings Sunday: Pantherfest showcases activities, projects

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JENNINGS County High School hosted its third annual Pantherfest Feb. 6

Pantherfest is a teacher-created event which gives people an opportunity to see all of the activities and projects going on throughout the school. The festival is a time for parents, students, and community members to see new, innovative ideas and creative projects being done in the high school.

“It is a time for us to present a more positive and optimistic view of what goes on here,” said Charlinda Evans, a member of the logistics sector of the committee that helped plan the event.

The I2I Design Team at the high school started planning this event immediately after last year’s. Last summer, the committee of 18 teachers split into eight groups, such as logistics, giveaways and food.

Evans said she thinks Pantherfest is a way to transcend the traditional parent-teacher conference.

“Not enough information gets relayed to the parent about all of the wonderful things happening here,” she said.

Pantherfest is a way to connect the community and the school, she added.

Pantherfest is a way of “showing the community the great curricular enhancements the school has made over the years — more classes, more (Advanced Placement) courses, more electives, dual-credit courses, new ways of teaching and more technology,” said Debby Jackson, a member of the freebies sector of the committee.

At Pantherfest, people experience classroom presentations, school and community exhibits, musical performances and student artwork.

Every year, the committee does something new. This year, the A.P. art students showcased an artwork with Indianapolis artist William Denton Ray. He is a contemporary, mixed-media artist who uses colors, surfaces and media to express his creativity.

“We will be creating a vignette,” A.P. art teacher Karen Chilman said before the event. “It will start off as bunch of different squares and rectangles of plywood. Ray will be working with the students to paint each and every block. When it is finished, we will have an amazing piece of artwork to add to the school.”

Throughout the evening, giveaways and door prizes were awarded. Door prizes included a Pantherfest magnet and a combination pen stylus, which works with smartphones, tablets and iPads. The main giveaway of the evening was a big-screen television.

Other prizes included tickets to the Louisville Bats and Indianapolis Indians baseball games and gift certificates from several restaurants. Season tickets for Jennings County High School football also could be won.

This event was entirely funded through grants and donations, including from the Jennings High School Class of 2012. Ray also donated an original piece of artwork that was given away at Pantherfest.

If you missed it, Pantherfest will be next February with a whole new group of students and projects.

Mitchell Sigmund is a Jennings County High School senior.

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