Caleb Pierce, Jayne Poole and Clara Prothero use their alter egos, Sun, Ray and Shine, to teach and encourage CVG students. Watch a video of their antics here.
A fast drumbeat and cheery tune kick off spirit assemblies at
Columbia Valley Gardens Elementary. A video lights up the gymnasium’s giant screen, where “Sun” and “Shine”—two characters in yellow and blue T-shirts—march in time to the music and demonstrate the catchphrases that define the CVG Suns:
Nothing but your best
As the video winds down, the real Sun and Shine—a.k.a. third-grade teacher Caleb Pierce and kindergarten teacher Clara Prothero—stride into the auditorium to a cacophony of excited screams. It’s time for the day’s skit.
“They’re like our mascots,” explains Logan, a fifth grader.
“They tell us what to do and what not to do, like on the swings,” adds classmate Reece.
“They’re teachers,” says Aiden, also a fifth grader, with an impish grin, “but they’re really nice.”
Sun and Shine have been bringing their show to CVG assemblies for the past three years—often with their sidekick, Ray—math coordinator Jayne Poole.
Their March skit focused on following directions, using several young audience members to help Sun teach Shine
that following directions the first time is important, because in case of an emergency, that’s how you get to safety.
“We focus on these expectations as a school at all times,” explains principal Aaron Whitright. “Sun and Shine provide an interesting way of spreading the word of what it means to do things the ‘CVG Way.’”
Prothero says Sun and Shine appear to have had another impact on school assemblies: building community.
Last fall, Sun and Shine added a new trick—“the CVG Slide,” a special school dance. Now assemblies finish with everyone—staff and students—doing the Slide together, giving students the opportunity to have fun with their teachers.
“I feel like there’s a lot more joy. It’s not just going to an assembly,” Prothero says. “When you show the kids we’re in this together, they’re more excited to get on board.”