Paris School students celebrate the Oceans during their March 22 assembly (Earlene Frederick/The Report).

Former student comes back to share hobby

By Jason Arndt

After nearly a month of studying aquatic life, sparked by a field trip to Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, Paris School students unveiled their research at a school-wide assembly held March 22.

According to Paris School Reading Specialist Margie Blair, the assembly was the concluding presentation from the three-week project, including the Shedd Aquarium.

“We started a unit with a trip to the Shedd and they have been submerged into the subject for three weeks,” she said.

The field trip, Blair said, was courtesy of the Paris School Organization, who offered assistance, which included the purchase of literature.

Zack Klabunde, 16, showcases the saltwater fish tank he made for his former school (Jason Arndt/The Report).

“We went on three separate days, they also paid for the kids to see a show at the Shedd Aquarium,” she said. “It’s really a nice day for the kids, it kind of kicked off the unit, we also purchased literature for every different age groups.”

Meanwhile, as students submerged themselves into several Oceans units, a 16-year-old graduate of the school stepped and lent a hand when he learned students were studying his hobby.

Zachary Klabune, now a Westosha Central High School junior, said his contribution served as a way to give back to the Paris community.

“Through my nine years here, I loved how friendly the staff was, they are definitely all willing to help and there for you if you need it,” said Klabune, whose brother, Luke, is in the 6th grade at Paris.

Klabunde, who has a 64-gallon saltwater tank at home, wanted to share his knowledge with the children at his former school.

“With the aquatic life, I figured it was a great experience to the kids,” said Klabunde, who reportedly spent two weeks assembling and stocking the tank.

“I set up the saltwater tank to help students learn how the underwater life on the ocean floor works,” he said.

Among several life forms in the ocean, Klabunde finds corals the most fascinating.

Klabunde said his fascination with aquatic life started as a 6-year-old, when his father, Fred, owned a fish tank.

“I was about six and my dad had a fish tank and I found it really intriguing and then I had a freshwater tank for awhile, and then decided it was time to take my skill level to the next step and do saltwater tanks,” said Klabunde, who hails from Pell Lake.

“It’s a bit more challenging,” he said. “You have to keep all of the water parameters equal and then do a lot more maintenance and know what fish are compatible with each other.”

At the school-wide assembly, where parents, and students and faculty converged, Paris District Administrator Roger Gahart commended Klabunde on his initiative.

“He spent hours and hours setting up the saltwater tank,” Gahart told the audience.

Following a presentation on Ocean Life delivered by students in kindergarten and 2nd-grade, students in 3rd- through 5th-grade offered insight into the history of the Titanic.

To bolster relationships between older and younger students, 6th-grade students helped the 1st-grade class deliver a presentation called Kids Helping Kids.

From there, the 7th-grade class held an interactive presentation, which had the audience guess the sounds of specific oceans species.

Capping off the assembly was the 8th-grade class with a “Story of Rainbow Fish and his Sparking Scales.”

As Paris students completed their unit, the school-wide endeavor changes annually to keep the curriculum fresh.

“We never repeat a unit in the nine years,” she said.

While Paris school expects to explore a different unit next year, Klabunde plans to hone his craft at home, where he maintains a 64-gallon saltwater tank.

“I actually have a bigger tank at home that I support and hope to add these guys to it,” he said.


1 Comment

  1. Terri Engels says:

    That is my great friend (the teacher). Always bring the children to new heights. Successfully leading them,challenging their expectations. Giving them all levels of great learning experience.

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