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Mark Calendars Now To Vote For NMS’s 2019 Scarecrows



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Newtown Middle School students are padding their scarecrow concept ideas with imaginary straw right now in preparation for the annual Eighth Grade Scarecrow Contest.

The first meeting for the annual charity fundraising event was held on September 4, when all prospective students gathered in the school’s auditorium to learn about the contest.

“Every year, just before Halloween...” art teacher Leigh Anne Coles — who is overseeing this year’s effort with long-term substitute Roxanne Buzinsky and art teacher Kristen Ladue — said as she began the meeting.

Since the program began in 1996, eighth grade students have been tasked to work in groups to create a larger-than-life scarecrow that can withstand Mother Nature. Students can work alone, but they are encouraged to work in groups. Over the years, many different types of scarecrows have been designed, built, and put on display on the front lawn of the school for the public. Once the scarecrows are on display, voting opens. Members of the public are asked to vote for their favorite scarecrow, as many times as they want, with a corresponding $1 donation per vote.

Last school year, students drew inspiration from movies, societal issues, and iconic characters. There were two large dragons, an oversized pumpkin, and scarecrows plucked from the imagination of the eighth graders. There were 26 scarecrow entries in 2018, and the effort raised more than $1,500 for local charities.

As reported by The Newtown Bee last year, two groups tied for third placed. Each group earned $196.50 to donate to a charity. The Genie from Disney’s Aladdin, or scarecrow 30 — created by Paige Armstrong, Madison Singlak, Addie Sullivan, and Annabel Saunders — tied with Save the Turtles, or scarecrow five — created by Ayla Ryder, Angie Romano, and Katie Daoust. In second place, the CD Fish, or scarecrow 27 — created by Cate Dalton, Allie Kost, Kayleigh Troy, and Skylar Lewis — earned $393 to donate to a local charity. In first place, the Back to the Future DeLorean and Marty McFly, or scarecrow one, by Adam Uhde and Alamin Islam earned $786 to donate to a local charity.

Ms Coles told the gathered eighth grade students that no scarecrow entry should make a small child cry. She also told them to think about how to design something that can withstand nature, as in past years the scarecrows have stood through hurricanes and snow.

Another part of the challenge is that each group is encouraged to limit spending to $30 per scarecrow, and all of the students were told to be creative both with finding materials and funding resources, as in the past, students have asked local businesses to support their projects.

Eighth grade Art Enrichment students must participate in the project, and other students can volunteer as well.

Ms Coles readied the eager students on September 4 to create a “really cool piece of art” the community can enjoy.

The students had six weeks from the first meeting to design and implement their scarecrow project before they will all go on display at the school. All students must oversee voting for one hour while scarecrows are on display, and they receive 16 hours of community service for completing a project and overseeing voting.

The scarecrows are expected to be set up at the school on Friday, October 18, the day before voting will be open to the public.

Once the scarecrows are on display, voting will be open to the public October 19 and 20. Members of the public may cast as many votes as they choose, with corresponding $1 donations. Ballots will be available at the school, and a copy of the ballot will be printed in the October 18 print edition of The Newtown Bee to cut out and submit with the $1 donation. Vote — 9 am to 5 pm on both days — at the school, 11 Queen Street, or drop off votes in The Newtown Bee’s letter slot in the front door of its 5 Church Hill Road office, with the envelopes marked “NMS Scarecrows,” by the end Sunday, October 20.

The top three winning scarecrows from the contest will be announced at the school and in The Newtown Bee.

NMS long-term substitute Roxanne Buzinsky, left, and art teacher Leigh Anne Coles, right, tell prospective eighth grade Scarecrow Contest entrants about the upcoming 2019 effort on September 4. —Bee Photo, Hallabeck
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