Westside schools: Bristol art honored by county commissioners

       Bristol Elementary students entertained the Board of El Paso County Commissioners with Suzuki violin music and art work at the board meeting May 8.
       The performance by about 15 kindergarten and first-grade students was led by school instructor Michael Hanson, who is also concert master for the Colorado Springs Philharmonic Orchestra.
       Meanwhile, hanging on two walls at the rear of the commissioners' board room, were about 20 framed paintings by Bristol students from grades K-5. Art teacher Katie Robinson and the students who made the pictures were also present. They were asked to stand under their respective works, and for a while the commissioners broke off their meeting to mingle with them.
       Bristol became recognized as an arts magnet school this year, when it implemented the Suzuki program, in which young students learn to play by ear. But in previous years there has been a gradual addition of percussion instruments and computerized scoring for the music program, the incremental lengthening of the visual arts teacher's time (three days a week now), and the development of the school's TV news program.
       The idea of emphasizing art from area schools started with Commissioner Chair Sallie Clark, who is also a long-time Westside civic leader. During the meeting, she noted that several years ago Bristol was “in danger of closing” because of low enrollment, but she and others worked on a task force that developed the idea of attracting more students by turning some of the Westside schools into magnets in different educational ways.
       “We're real honored to have our artwork selected,” Principal Steve Ferguson told the commissioners.
       Bristol is the second school selected to have its students' artwork hung in the commissioners' board room. Art from Jenkins Elementary hung there in April.
       The commissioners' resolution states that the body joins with School District 11 in a “community partnership to recognize and acknowledge art as a valuable part of the core curriculum of students' well-rounded educational journey.”
       The National German Honor Society at Coronado High School is spearheading an effort to raise donations of hair for Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair in surviving cancer. Participating Westside salons include Veda's, Ofelia's, Infinity, Total Image and Eden. To help out in the future, inquire about Locks of Love when having a haircut of 10 inches or more.
       The society also sponsored a blood drive this month at the school, in conjunction with the Memorial Hospital Blood Bank. For more information, call 328-3706.
       Kara Gowler, a Coronado High senior, won a new car as part of a District 11 promotion with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company May 9.
       She was one of 137 high school students and 59 middle school students who won scholarships from Coke and qualified for the corporation's new-car drawing by having grade-point averages of at least 3.75 for the year and perfect attendance.
       The car is a 2006 Ford. Each high school student's name had been placed in a fishbowl for the drawing.

Westside Pioneer article/press releases