By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Newkirk Elementary School (NES) set out on a quest Monday morning, May 13, with one burning question in mind: how many quarters would fit around the Kay County Courthouse Square? They spent more than an hour finding the answer, and donated that change to the planned amphitheater project.
The project, “Quarters Around the Courthouse,” was spearheaded by the Newkirk Amphitheater Committee, a subcommittee of Newkirk Main Street. Kim Shanks, an NES teacher and committee member, organized the event, which was inspired by another Main Street program.
“Hobart, Okla. did a ‘Coins around the Courthouse’ with their Main Street, so we borrowed their idea to kick off the amphitheater,” she said.
A line was chalked around the Courthouse for kids to lay quarters, and shortly after the school day began, they started bussing the students to the Courthouse. NES would become a virtual ghost town, as a large crowd of children gathered downtown.
The students sat on the sidewalks, quarters in hand, carefully placing them on the chalk line to find the special number.
Some students took more active roles in the project outside of simply laying them down, like Madalyn Hutchason, who had a speaking part.
“I introduced what we were doing, and asked Ms. (Lindsey) Brandon how to figure out how many quarters we needed,” she said. “I enjoyed that I got to represent our school at the Courthouse.”
It wasn’t simply a fundraiser, or even a question of the number to be found, however, because there were actual math concepts learned.
“They had to compute how many quarter to go all the way around it,” Skanks said. “We gave them the footage amount, and they had to determine how many quarters were needed, how many for each class, and each student.”
The number amounted to 7,656, nearly $2,000, all donated to the amphitheater, which is expected to begin later in the year.
“We got all the quarters out, and went all the way around, and we got some money, and awareness for the amphitheater,” Shanks said.
For the students participating, getting to support such a project made the event even better.
“I think Newkirk needs an amphitheater so we can have things to do here,” Hutchason said.