The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy

Grateful for our schools, educators


November 23, 2017

Of course we should feel a sense of gratitude for what we have year round, but realistically, the busy-ness of daily life encroaches, and we rarely pause. Except at Thanksgiving. Maybe not such a bad thing, to pause deliberately to savor our blessings.

Along with many others, I am extremely grateful for our school district. One particularly noteworthy characteristic about Clovis is the quality of people who live and work here.

This community is so loyal to and appreciative of our school district, always willing to help and support; and our educators are the best, including so many amazing individuals always exploring new ways to enhance learning for all students.

A recent example of this is the Entrepreneurship Investigation Camp organized by Joe Strickland, deputy superintendent of instruction, along with Emily Gum, executive administrative assistant.

The event, held at Clovis Schools’ Central Office and around town spanned last Thursday through Saturday and was facilitated by non-profit Ogallala Commons Inc.’s Dr. Darryl Birkenfield, along with other presenters. Other collaborators were the Clovis Curry County Chamber of Commerce; the Young Professionals of Clovis; and the Small Business Development Center.

Strickland described the project: “We all worked together to plan it. We had 24 students from all three middle schools. By the end, the students kept asking, excitedly, when we could do this again.”

The event began with each student — using the University of Nebraska provided materials — identifying their own unique strengths, and then launching into the highly interactive activities.

Middle school is such a critical time to capture the interest of students, to introduce them to the enormous possibilities of the future. The overarching goal was to show students the various aspects of becoming an entrepreneur to foster ideas about creating their own businesses or industries in their own communities that could still be financially successful.

The experience included segments, generally in 15-minute blocks, with field trips to local entrepreneurs, who conduct their businesses near and far, thanks to the internet.

The culminating event was students in groups, pairs, or alone (their choice), developing their own business and presenting to the whole group. The last day, Saturday, students presented their businesses to parents and other visitors.

Most definitely grateful for these kinds of life-changing experiences.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for the Clovis Municipal Schools and can be reached at:



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