COLUMBIA — More than 500 students stood up to do the chicken dance at Parkade Elementary School's celebration assembly Friday afternoon.
Music played over the speakers in the gymnasium as students flapped their arms like wings and danced in circles during a break between announcements of awards.
The assembly aims to encourage students’ good behavior by giving them awards in front of their classmates and peers. It is held monthly at the school.
Stacy Pendergrass, the music teacher at Parkade, led the assembly and gave an award to one student from each classroom who demonstrated September’s theme of respect.
October’s theme is responsibility, and awards will be handed out at an assembly in early November.
“This builds community and gets the school to act as a family,” Pendergrass said.
The assembly kicked off with the school song, then continued with a presentation of a skit that illustrated good decision-making skills to students. The message was “stop, think, discuss, and decide.”
Upcoming awards for the school year were also announced. The Clean Sweep Award rewards the cleanest classroom with a sparkly blue feather duster, and the Café Club Award is a gold-colored plate given to those who follow expectations in the cafeteria.
The highlight of the assembly was a game hosted by Pendergrass, which had students and teachers cheering in delight. Three teachers and their students were chosen for a game of “Do You Have the Scoop?”, where students and teachers are asked questions about each other.
Activities like these allow teachers and kids to have fun together outside of the classroom setting and provide a break from the normal school day while working toward school pride, said Carrie Freeman, assistant principal.
"It’s definitely a morale booster," said Joe Douglass, a volunteer at Parkade Elementary. "I never saw anything like that at my school when I was a kid."