View from Parkway Heights Middle School

Why Parkway Heights Students Love Intercession

The last week before winter break is typically a quiet time, except at Parkway Heights Middle School. That’s when the school’s annual intercession event begins. 
During intercession, the school offers up a menu of different classes and activities designed to inject some added interest and excitement into the last few days of school. 
“It’s just whatever the staff would like to share with students,” said Deanna Moreno, Parkway’s long-serving administrative assistant. 
Parkway Heights Middle School students take part in chess class during the school's annual intercession event.
This year, those classes include boxing, chess, making SPAM masubi, volleyball, Super Smash Bros., and Street Fighter.
“I want to say that we’ve been doing this for about eight years now [since 2015],” said Moreno. “Usually in December a lot of students are not here for the last week of school, so we thought this would be a perfect time to do something different.”  
The intercession activities are taught by the school’s teachers and classified staff. Students take part in four different activities over two days. 
Parkway Heights Middle School students make SPAM masubi during the school's annual intercession event.
“It’s [intercession] kind of fun for the staff too, because they can show skills that are not related to their usual role,” Moreno said.
Special education teacher Erick McFadyen agreed.
McFadyen has been boxing for 15 years and considers it a way of life.
He’s brought his gloves and sparring equipment to teach students about the sport.
“I think it’s a good idea for students to see staff in a different light,” said McFadyen. “I think sometimes we get caught up in being a Mister or a Missus. . .so I think it’s a beautiful way to show students that outside of teaching we have other lives.” 
Sixth grader Luciana Lopez was one of several girls in McFadyen’s boxing class.
“It’s really fun,” Luciana said. “My dad used to be a good fighter when he was young, so he told me to try boxing.” 
According to Moreno, the idea for intercession arose from casual conversations among teachers about etiquette classes for children. 
“That’s actually how it kind of started—kind of a joke about doing those kind of classes,” said Moreno. “Obviously, we’re not doing those classes. We’re doing more interactive classes.” 
One of those interactive classes is Intro. to Super Smash Bros. 
“The reason why I taught this is because it’s one of my biggest passions as a person in general,” said Parkways Heights music teacher Alberto Lopez-Rivas. “This is considered an e-sport, but more importantly it makes them [students] feel like they’re part of a community.” 
It also happens to be a great way to keep students engaged during the last week of school. 
“Kids love it,” said Moreno. “They look forward to it. It’s kind of exciting, because. . .it’s learning but in a different way. It’s learning in a fun way, and so they don’t consider it learning.”