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December 11, 2009

Ace delights and entertains elementary students; distributes new “Adventures”

University of Louisiana at Monroe mascot Ace the Warhawk delighted and entertained about 150 third and fourth-grade students at A.L. Smith Elementary in Sterlington on Thursday, Dec. 10.

The children stood and collectively thrust their hands up in the air along with Ace and mimicked his other movements as the beloved Warhawk led them in a game of “copy cat.” Ace paid them a surprise visit to celebrate the release of his newest “Ace’s Adventures” activity book.

ULM President Dr. James Cofer, First Lady Deborah Cofer and Ouachita Parish Superintendent Dr. Bob Webber were on hand to help Ace deliver the second activity book in the series titled, “Ace Solves the Case of Staying Healthy.” The first book, “Ace Explores Campus,” taught students in Pre-Kindergarten through second grade about biology, conservation, music, art and more.

Written with young students in mind, the second activity book is packed with information on nutrition and proper exercise. It places the mascot in great on-campus exercise spots such as Brown Stadium, the Natatorium and the Activity Center.

Emily Williamson, Director of the Child Development Director in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department, told the students, “My friend Ace wrote me a letter saying he wasn’t feeling too well, so I gave him a secret code to help him figure out the clues to staying healthy. That’s what this book is about.”

Sterlington Elementary Principal and ULM Alumna Dena Leggett, agreed that Ace’s surprise visit and the books were a hit. “They knew something was happening, but weren’t sure what it was ... I know they enjoyed it,” she said, following Ace’s departure.

Ace also visited the students of Thomas Jefferson Upper Elementary in Monroe on Wednesday, Dec. 9.

“If you haven’t been to our campus, you’ll get to do it through the activity book,” said Beth Ricks, associate professor of curriculum and instruction at ULM, as she encouraged the students to “find their passion” and pursue a higher education.

“This is great!” said one student, while another added, “this is fun,” as each quickly scanned the pages of their own copy of the book. The series is free to the students and contains age-appropriate activities aligned with state standards.

The book’s delivery at Jefferson Elementary on Wednesday morning was the first batch of more than 14,000 books that will be delivered to elementary schools in 15 northeastern Louisiana parishes. The book is supported by a Web site that includes lesson plans for teachers and innovative online activities for students, which allows children to read the book, listen to several online narratives, and play interactive games.

The accompanying lesson plans integrate several subjects, and helps teachers to choose the materials based on the needs and talents of their students. This creates endless possibilities in the classroom, said Ava Pugh, professor of curriculum and instruction at ULM.

Pugh and Jerrilene Washington, also of curriculum instruction, assigned their students the task of creating the lesson plans. "Teachers can use these plans for motivation, remediation, enrichment, or to extend a concept taught in the school's curriculum," Pugh said.

Mike Beutner, educational leadership and counseling, created the Web site. He said, "Ace has been accepted by thousands of children as a friend who loves the environment and all kinds of learning. Now, the children will learn about the importance of good health. As educators, we want to build on the positive qualities that Ace exemplifies."

The educational possibilities within the greater community are not lost on President Cofer. In fact, the project first began as a simple coloring book, but Cofer suggested ULM staff members utilize the talents of professors from departments such as curriculum and instruction. "Elementary teachers and students across northeast Louisiana enthusiastically embraced the last edition of 'Ace's Adventures' and we are pleased to offer it again," Cofer said. "Our faculty and staff recognize the importance of supporting the region with these important educational initiatives."

For additional information about this educational resource, visit the Web site

Illustrations for the book were created by Christi Bailey, ULM student Valerie Barley, Rob Glaze, Rhonda Neal, Street Characters Inc., Shanette Washington, and Emily Williamson.

“Aces Adventures” is made possible by Media Sponsors: KNOE-TV, Lamar Advertising, The News-Star, and The Radio People and by Corporate Sponsor, the Thomas H. and Mayme P. Scott Foundation.

ULM Ace's Adventures Committee members include: Mike Beutner, Educational Leadership and Counseling; Peggy Buffington, Family and Consumer Sciences; Virginia Eaton, DREAM; Laura Woodard, University Relations; Cindy Leath, Development Office; Amy Ouchley, (retired) Biology, DREAM; Eric Pani, Academic Affairs; Ava Pugh, Curriculum and Instruction; Beth Ricks, Curriculum and Instruction; Gary Stringer, Geosciences; Jerrilene Washington, Curriculum and Instruction; Amy Weems, Student Life and Leadership; Michael Echols, University Advancement; Emily Williamson, Child Development Center; Patricia Tolar, University Relations.

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