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EHS Students Put Best Hands Forward
Rain may have kept some people away and forced some planned outdoor activities inside, but visitors to the Escalon High campus on Wednesday evening, March 23 still got a good glimpse into the wide variety of activities taken on by EHS students.

The night featured musical entertainment, a dramatic performance, departmental displays and even a video presentation focusing on the upcoming California Standards Tests, with members of the high school's ASB - Associated Student Body - governing board pumping up their fellow students, urging them to study for the state testing.

Helping coordinate the event was teacher Annie Dunn, who said the 'Give Kids a Hand' event has become a replacement for the traditional 'open house,' which often did not draw as much participation from the community as hoped.

"The evening is designed to showcase the work students are doing in the various departments and classes, acknowledge the diverse clubs and groups on campus, provide opportunity for parents to become involved in various activities on campus, allow for clubs to fundraise and promote their activities," Dunn said in promoting the event beforehand.

Those attending also had the chance to visit the school's annual art showcase, Arts Alive, featuring work from students at every district site and grade level, set up in the old gym on campus during the week. (See separate story, photo on this page.)

Journalism Club members junior Mercedes Henke and senior LilLana Cajias were busy serving up treats - cotton candy and nachos, to be specific - as they offered information about the club. Linguica sandwiches were being cooked up outside the high school cafeteria, while a few eighth grade students could be found in the main gym, viewing the department displays with their parents.

Collin McCrary, an El Portal eighth grader, was there with his mom and dad to check things out to see what awaits him at the high school next year.

Jackie Valeriano, also an eighth grader, was being quizzed by freshman Jac Colton on the slope intercept formula for algebra at the math department display.

"We just wanted her to get an idea of the different classes available," mom Lupe Valeriano said of attending the Wednesday night event.

Out in the quad, students with a variety of shapes and sizes of sling shots were showing how far they could fling tennis balls and at another booth inside the gym, freshman Josh Redding was testing water to see what chemicals and nutrients it contained.

ASB representative Mason Silva, a junior, was among those at the entrance to the main gym offering the video that showed Escalon needing to push harder in academics.

He said a CST rally is planned for Friday, April 8 and testing will run the week of April 11 through 14. Right now, he pointed out, Escalon lags behind Ripon, Hilmar and Hughson in the Trans-Valley League schools in terms of academic scores.

"We are tops in athletics but we also want to be tops in academics," Silva said. "Our goal is to place higher."

Among those working on the video to encourage student effort on the upcoming CSTs were Kyle Rose, Jill Gardner and Hannah Beeler.

On stage in the performing arts center, the choir sang some songs, the drama department offered a couple of scenes from their upcoming production of 'Wonderland' and the band also played.

All of it, said Dunn, provided a worthy showcase for the students and their talents, and she was pleased with the overall event.