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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Cub Scout Campout

Ahh, a Cub Scout campout.  What more can you say?

For the 2012 Spring campout, Cub Scout Pack 711 went to Camp Tom Wooten in Bastrop, very near the Lost Pines Boy Scout Reservation.  The campout was just one night, but it was still a lot of fun.  We arrived on Saturday, March 17th, and left out again on Sunday morning, March 18th.  This was just a "Dane & Dad" adventure.  Mom and the brothers had their own stuff going on.

Here's a few shots of our adventure.

Setting up the tent.

Tent's up, getting ready for a hike.

The hike destination:  Fort Houston, the BB gun range




The Bear Den Leader, Mr. Villareal covers BB gun safety.

And the shooting begins!




And he hits the mark!

I don't know how this picture wound up on my camera.  It was clearly photoshopped.

Dane tries his hand at fishing.

A game of Ga-Ga ball.  Like dodge ball, but you must roll the ball.



After supper, Dane had some dishwashing duty.


The campfire.



Leaving camp, we had to cross the wooden one-lane bridge.

Watch out for that hole, Dane?  And why are you evnen driving?

Aurgggh!  He hit the hole?  Hope the van doesn't break the boards and fall in the river.


And some interesting wildlife as we were leaving!

(for Shannon)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Black History Oratorical

On Thursday, March 8, 2012, Dane performed for his elementary school's Black History Oratorical contest.

With some help from Mom, Dane selected a great poem entitled "Grandma" by Saul Williams.

To get to perform in the Oratorical, Dane had to perform in his class and be selected to move on. The next step was to perform in front of a judge and be selected to go on to the Oratorical event. The day time Oratorical was in front of the student body and four judges during the school day. And lastly, the night time performance was in front of four judges and a cafeteria full of people! Each of the four times Dane performed, he was scored (as was everyone else.)

Thanks to Glen Huschka for the following video!


I took a bunch of pictures, as yearbook photographer and Dane's mom! The first few pics are during his actual performance.

After all the performances, the judges left the cafeteria to tabulate the scores from all four performances. The top scores in each grade level would get a trophy.

When the judges came back, the called each grade level participants to the stage. Dane lined up with the other 10 third graders. Mr. Medina read the winners names. Dane's name was the first to be called! His classmate, Zion, was happy for Dane, and was hoping to hear her name-
She won a trophy too!
These are the third grade Oratorical winners!
Nicholas, Jermaine, Zion, and Dane
Picture of best buds Lizzie, Kennedy, and Dane!
Celebration pictures!

And a happy dance picture! Congratulations, Dane!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

PISD Academic Meet

Saturday, March 4th was the PISD Academic Meet hosted by our school, Highland Park. Dane was a competitor in the Oral Reading Category for 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders.

He had a long journey just to get to compete. It began with an audition in his classroom. He performed two Shel Silverstein poems. He was chosen as one of two to go to the next round of auditions.

The next day at school, he performed one of the Silverstein poem's on stage in front of Mr. Medina. At this point he was competing against 31 other students (a mix of 3rd 4th and 5th graders) for one of six spots. He made it!

For the next week, he and the other 5 students worked with Mr. Medina and Mrs. Parker every morning, polishing the performances. They all got a new collection of poems to memorize and prepare. Dane got a 4 poem selection by James Stevenson. They were all themed around mother and boy. Dane's new pieces were "Ma, Don't Throw That Shirt Out, My Mother Says I'm Sickening, I'm Thankful, and I'm The Single Most Wonderful Person I Know." All funny and completely appropriate for a boy Dane's age.

On Friday of that week, each of the 6 students performed again for one of the 3 spots that would get them into the Academic Meet.

I happened to be sitting with Dane during his lunch time when his teacher came rushing in to tell us the final 3 had been announced and Dane was one of them!! Woo hoo! The final three consisted of one 3rd grader (Dane), one 4th grader, and one 5th grader.

The last week before the meet, all 3 students worked each morning with the principals and performed for various classes to get practice in front of an audience.

15 of the 18 Pflugerville elementary school's participated in the Meet. Each school was allowed to bring 3 contestants per event/category. There were 5 events/ categories.

On the day of the Meet, for the Oral Reading category, all 39 contestants- district wide, perform in round 1 and round 2. In each round, there are 7 students in front of 1 judges. Dane's teacher went in the rooms with him as his coach while I hung back in the cafeteria with other parents.

This is Dane and his teacher/coach Ms. Truong after round 1.
This is Dane being silly after round 2. Same bag of Cheetos!

Once scores had been tabulated, the 7 finalists were announced. These finalist go on to compete in round 3 against each other, in front of 3 judges.

Waiting for the finalists to be announced.
Mr. Medina begins the finalist announcement.
Look closely! Dane made it into the finals!!! We cheered like crazy!

In round 3, the final 7 are scored for places 1 through 6. So one of the finalist doesn't place. :-(

Again, Ms. Truong accompanied Dane to the round 3 room and performance while I waited in the cafeteria. When round 3 was over, Dane got some pizza and played board games with other HPES students while we waited for the awards ceremony.

A little after 1pm, it was awards time!

This is the trophy table- shiny!
The second category to have the winners announced was Oral Reading. Dane and I sat waiting to hear- the excitement was in the air!

They called the names for 6th, 5th, and 4th place- no Dane yet. Then they called the name of the 3rd place winner- Dane Limbaugh!!!!!!!! The crowd went wild! And to sweeten the pot, our 4th grader won 2nd and our 5th grader won 1st! It was a Bulldog sweep!! So exciting!!!!

Here are the Oral Reader winners in place order!

Here are the 3 HPES Oral reader winners! So proud of them all!
Dane, Kira, and Ashley!
Here is proud Dane with Ms. Truong and Mr. Medina. Also in the picture, you will notice the super large trophy. That is the 1st place sweepstake trophy Highland Park won for having the most kids place in all the events!! Double woohoo!
Here are all the HPES trophy winners, coaches and principal. What a happy and excited group!! 7 out of our 15 competitor's walked away with trophies!
Dane chose Golden Wok restaurant for our late lunch celebration. So off we went! What a GREAT day!!

Here is a video of the winner's announcement! You can hear Dane say, right before third place is announced, "Did I make it or did I not?"

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Clark visits UNT

Clark and I took a trip this weekend (2-3 Mar 2012) to visit the University of North Texas so he could see for himself what college life might be like.  He's decided to attend UNT this fall as an engineering major (in the Honors Program no less, having been notified that he's one of the top 50 applicants to the engineering program this year!).

Here's a few quick shots from our trip.  These pictures are a little out of order chronologically but are grouped more fluidly by subject.  Perhaps I'll revise and update with more pictures once we're back home in P'ville.

Welcome to the University of North Texas!

A snapshot before we start the tour.


The Hurley Administrative Building is the iconic center of UNT.

Standing along the academic "corridor" on campus, the set of buildings where most classes are taught.

A tribute to Terrence Needom's days at UNT.

One of several cafeterias on campus.  

The Honors Hall where Clark plans to stay this fall.


The Honors Hall is more like a hotel than a dorm!  Very snazzy.

The lobby has a nice hang-out area.

The Honors Hall has its own kitchen for the students to use.  (Unfortunately, no cafeteria in the building -- they'll have to walk a block or two to eat.)

A piano for those interested students.

A typical Honors Hall dorm room.  Here we see the "common area" shared by two students. 

Two separate bedrooms open off of the "common area" in each Honors Hall dorm room.

The separate bedrooms are very nice -- FOR STUDYING, CLARK!

A second glance at a dorm room common area.  The two occupants of each room share one private bathroom, which opens just out of view (behind Clark's back) from the common space.

Plenty of nice corners in the Honors Hall to sit and visit -- and study! -- with friends.

Back to some of the neat stuff on campus: the Armadillo building, where more than 1,000 fine art concerts are held each year.

A view in the student union building.

Casual spaces in one of the general academic buildings where classes are taught.


Shifting gears and heading out to the "Discovery Park" where the College of  Engineering is housed.  This research campus is about 4 miles from the main UNT campus.  It's a world unto its own.

 The College of Engineering is now housed in a former Texas Instrument building.

I really liked the open-air feeling of the building.

Clark was the only student on the tour today. He got a very personalized tour with lots of extra "behind-the-scenes" views like the electron microscope (not shown).  Here he gets a look at the wind tunnel in the Mechanical Engineering division.

UNT has its own workshop for students to build and test new ideas.  Here is a flagship UNT car from days gone by that is being retooled to run on an electric motor.

The Computer Science division is also housed on the research campus.  "Programmers in their natural habitat -- do not tap on glass."

LAZERS!  (and a self-flushing toilet in the corner)



A pool table, ping-ping table, shuffleboard, and an exercise bike to blow off steam when the studying gets intense!

That's just some of the thing we saw at UNT on Friday.  Headed back on Saturday to explore some more.