Emerson Elementary kicks off their first Garbage to Golf event


Eighteen teams of fourth graders recently crafted putt-putt courses made of recycled materials — and a lot of imagination — at a Seymour elementary school.

Since February, fourth graders in the classes of Tracey Brown and Megan Tolbert at Emerson Elementary School have been working on these putt-putt courses. The kids were charged with designing their holes while considering their theme, materials and parameters.

Themes for the holes included Halloween, school, fish and more.

For materials, kids were tasked with repurposing items at their disposal. Many of the materials used came from the school such as hockey sticks, stuffed animals and pool noodles. Some courses incorporated boxed and canned food, which after the courses, would be donated to the food pantry.

The kids’ individual skills and characteristics shined through their putt-putt courses.

At Hole No. 8 (Fire), the creators of the hole, Zoey Royalty, Kaison Spates and Jorge Chub said the reason they chose their theme was because they discovered their favorite colors were red and orange, reminding them of fire.

Hole No. 5 (Art), this team came to their theme by discovering the three of them, Tomas Martin, Zayley Castetter and Seba Sebastian all enjoyed drawing and art.

At Hole No. 6 (Under the Sea), the team of Naylene Hunstable, Kinsley Hunt and Noah Morris used a Cheese Ball container and tinfoil to make a shark where the golfers would hit their balls into. They didn’t have enough foil for the bottom of the container, but Morris said it was cool to see through the clear plastic. Fish and other sea creatures around the hole were made similarly with tinfoil and other recyclables.

Sharlet Brooks from Hole No. 7 (Space) said that her favorite part of this project, which her teammates KyAire Weathers and Lainey Vu agreed with, was getting to work with people she usually doesn’t work with.

All the teams were excited to show their courses.

“Just because we are Hole No. 3 (Toy Store) doesn’t mean we are third place,” said Charlie Ault.

Charlie and her teammates, Laurel Maloney and Maddox Watts, used toys such as small fence pieces to make a barrier and a big caterpillar to start the course off, placing it at the front to work as a tunnel.

This was the first year for the event, and when asked Erin Moore, the school’s librarian and STEM instructor, said that they may do this again next year.

The deciding factor in a Garbage to Golf comeback would be a future change in faculty.

Sharon Wood, the school’s physical education teacher, will be retiring next year.

With Garbage to Golf being one of Wood’s last big Emerson projects, Moore said Wood “wanted to go out with a bang.”

Reflecting on her time at Emerson, Wood said the students are the best part of the job.

“They can create, implement, tweak and make things that are beyond my adult imagination,” she said. “Not many retirees can succeed in teaching at every building and coaching at all three levels in the corporation […] throughout their career.”

Wood has been teaching physical education for 36 years including the last 10 years at Emerson Elementary.

“During my time here, I’ve been able to work with over 20,000 students and athletes, providing not only instruction in physical education and athletics but also guidance, support and mentorship,” she said.

Following her retirement, Wood plans on spending time with her husband, Bob, who is also a retired teacher and is anxiously waiting for a new addition to the family, a grandchild.

“I cannot wait to take on the role of Mary Poppins and be the best ‘granny nanny’ around,” Wood said.

Garbage to Golf was a thought-provoking event that involved so many students, teachers and families.

It is one of many parts of the teaching experience Wood said she will take with her as she says goodbye to SCSC and Emerson Elementary.

”I will be able to carry with me a lifetime of stories, memories and friendships that mean the world to me,” she said.

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