Wellington Elementary Goes Constitutional as the School Year Nears End

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Winners of the Constitution Bee at Wellington Elementary stand with Leonard Miller of the Price Lions Club after he awarded them cash for their performance in the competition.

Carbon School District Press Release

COVID changed a lot of things for schools this year and one of them is that some programs and events have been either toned down or outright cancelled. One of those was the Constitution Bee, which is usually held in the fall in the elementary schools in the district. This year, it was held in the spring and only took place at two schools.

One of those was Wellington Elementary.

Two dozen students participated in the bee that is sponsored by the Price Lions Club on the afternoon of May 18 in the school’s library. Questions to the students ranged from “What is one of the rights guaranteed to a citizen by the First Amendment?” to later questions when the number of those participating had become fewer because of elimination like “Which were some of the states that were involved in the original drafting of the constitution?”

After three rounds, about five students remained and then it came down to three. Finally, a winner emerged by answering the question about one of the three rights that are afforded citizens in the eighth amendment. Jocelyn Shorts answered “No cruel or unusual punishment” and that gave her first place. The second place finisher was Brylei Velasquez and third place went to Jayden Powell.

There are some hard questions asked that many adults can’t answer,” said Wellington Elementary Principal Paulie Vogrinec. “I am proud of these students.”

The school year at Wellington has been a good one, but also one that has been unusual because of the many precautions that have been taken to prevent the spread of COVID. Yet, despite the masks and the increased sanitation, as well as students coming to attend in person classes in the fall after an extra three months off, Vogrinec feels the school’s testing is showing that most students are right where they need to be in terms of learning. 

It’s been really good, but of course spring fever has hit,” she said. “Despite that, the students are doing well. I am so proud of the kids and the teachers because they have worked so hard and you can tell. The test scores that we have seen so far are coming in really good.”

Vogrinec said that she attributes the growth in student learning and avoiding a big slide in students’ knowledge to the school district’s sensible reopening plan, and how it was initiated and adopted by the schools and the community.

The students here have made up the loss and have gained during this time,” she said.

There have also been other events this year, but many have been low key.

We had another family night and that was successful,” Vogrinec explained. “Along with that, we have tried to have little programs here and there, because of the situation this year. So, we will be having field day and the PTA is planning a bunch of activities for that. And, of course, there are the field trips, but this year we have stayed pretty much within Carbon and Emery counties for those. I think it has been good sticking around here rather than going to the city. They are seeing what we have in our own backyard.”

She said that they have been working very hard on their positive rewards for students because of the situation this year. 

After spring break, it was hard for many of the students, so we upped the rewards for good behavior,” Vogrinec stated. “That has proved effective.”

She said the recent end of the mask mandate affected a lot of students.

When we made that announcement, they were all pretty cute about it,” she stated. “Everyone has a personal choice in this, both staff and students. We still have many students that are wearing masks because of health concerns. The fact is that we want our students to be respectful of those who wear or don’t wear masks. It’s a personal choice.”

Vogrinec said how wonderful it has been to actually see smiles on students’ faces again.

I was here late one afternoon and the students in the Rising Raptors after school program came by and I said ‘Who are you? I am not sure without your masks.’ They laughed a lot and smiled about that.”

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