Cooler temperatures and shorter days of fall soon will bring superheroes, cartoon characters, movie stars and more to our doorsteps, as boys and girls dress up to celebrate Halloween.
Dating back 2,000 years,”All Hallows Eve” has roots in an ancient Celtic harvest festival and the Christian holy day of All Saints Day. During the past century, Americans have helped shape Halloween into more of a whimsical, community event for children.
While Halloween is a festive and fun time, it is also one of the most dangerous celebrations of the year for children. According to Safe Kids USA, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than the rest of the year.
This year, families can help make Halloween less scary by following a few safety measures, such as these for a “SAFE HALLOWEEN” from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
S – Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
A – Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
F – Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
E – Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them.
H – Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.
A – Always test make-up in a small area first and remove before bedtime to prevent irritation.
L – Look both ways before crossing the street! Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
L – Lower your risk for bacterial infection or eye injury by NOT wearing decorative contact lenses, unless they are prescribed and fitted by a medical professional.
O – Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
W – Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
E – Eating factory-wrapped treats is best. Avoid homemade treats unless you know the cook.
E – Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult; otherwise, stay outside.
N – Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
Here’s to a safe and happy Halloween!
On any given school day, more than 369,000 children in Oklahoma ride to and from school on yellow buses that together travel 67 million miles each year. With so many miles to cover and thousands of boys and girls to transport safely, practicing school bus safety is a must at all times.
It’s one reason we observe National School Bus Safety Week each fall. This year, October 19-23, “Avoid Harm, Obey the Arm” is the national theme to stress the need for drivers to obey the rules of the road and for students to follow safety rules.
Motorists, parents and students alike are reminded that:
• Yellow lights will flash when a school bus is preparing to stop.
• Red lights will flash and a red stop sign arm will unfold from the side
of the bus when cars must stop because a bus is loading or unloading.
• Never pass on the right side of a bus where children board. It is also
illegal for motorists to pass a school bus that is stopped.
• Motorists may proceed only after the red lights have stopped flashing,
the stop sign arm has been folded up and the bus moves.
• When the bus approaches, students should stand at least three giant
steps (6 feet) away from the curb, and line up away from the street. Also:
1. They may board only after the bus stops, the door opens, and the
driver says it’s okay to step onto the bus.
2. They should never walk behind the bus but rather several feet in front
where the driver can see them.
3. If something is dropped near the bus, children should tell the bus
driver and only retrieve the item if the driver can see them.
The school bus continues to be the safest form of transportation to and from school. In fact, it is eight times safer than passenger vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In a 2002 report by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) of the National Academies for Science (NAS), children were found to be at more risk traveling in private passenger vehicles to and from school – especially if a teenage driver is involved – than in school buses.
The most dangerous part of the bus ride is when students load and unload from the bus. So please review safety rules with your children. Together – students, parents and communities – we can help ensure a safe and secure ride to school for boys and girls.
A dedication ceremony for a new cross and mace on the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel will be at 1 p.m. Oct. 15 on the Oklahoma City University campus, 2501 N Blackwelder Ave.
The cross will be the focal point for the chapel services. The cross and mace were created by woodcarver Haven Mankin.
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City will host a Think Pink Tea at 1 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 8) to raise awareness about breast cancer.
The event will be on the third floor of the student center in conference room south, 900 N Portland Ave.
Brandi Brown, of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, will be the featured speaker. Admission is free, and refreshments will be provided.
For more information, call 945-6796.
Enrollment is open for the Sustainable Energy Solutions seminar hosted by Bob Willis of Sunrise Alternative Energy.
The seminar will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 13 in the John Massey Center at Oklahoma City Community College, 7777 S May Ave.
Willis will discuss issues regarding environmental sustainability and using solar energy. The cost is $25. To register, call 682-7562.
Thirty-four-year-old Brian Grimm, an English instructor at Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, has been named Oklahoma’s 2010 Teacher of the Year.
I was honored to make this announcement this week before a standing-room-only audience of educators, friends and family members at the Oklahoma State Fair in Oklahoma City. Grimm repeatedly motioned “thumbs up” while accepting a “prize package” valued at more than $60,000.
The prizes from numerous, generous sponsors includes: Teacher of the Year trophy; $11,000 in cash awards and stipends; a laptop computer; a year’s lease of a Toyota Prius; thousands of dollars in Oklahoma college tuition fee waivers; a $500 credit toward a classroom makeover; specialized training; and software and computer equipment for the classroom.
As Teacher of the Year, Grimm will spend the next year as “Oklahoma’s Ambassador of Teaching” and will represent our state in the National
Teacher of the Year ceremony.
A native Oklahoman, Grimm attended school in Sapulpa before relocating to Texas with his family. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in Chickasha. He credits his family’s influence as educators, and the mentoring of two college professors with his dedication to his profession. “I never considered anything but teaching,” he said.
Grimm returned to the Tulsa area in 2004, when he was employed at Will Rogers, a Title I school beset with problems common to urban schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods.
He says he was challenged to make the curriculum “relevant to kids with so much on their plates,” and credits his success and that of his students as a joint effort between school administrators, fellow teachers and district officials.
He admits his career as an educator was almost derailed by frustration and disillusionment. Nothing in his earlier experiences—teaching well prepared students in affluent schools—had prepared him for the students plagued with generational poverty he found at Will Rogers High.
After much thought and contemplation that first year at Will Rogers, Grimm became determined to reach deep in his educator’s toolbox to do whatever needed to reach his students and be an effective teacher. He hasn’t looked back since.
While Grimm says his message is simple, “You can do it!,” he says success with challenged students required him to think beyond traditional methods.
“In a contemporary classroom filled with students from diverse backgrounds…there is no particular formula, no exact equation for success,” he says. Teachers just need to “go to school every day and be prepared to try something new.”
I wholeheartedly agree, Mr. Grimm. Congratulations!