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Rock Paper Scissors championship set Feb. 6 in Troy

| January 30, 2007 11:00 PM

By GWEN ALBERS Western News Reporter

The ongoing battle of Rock Paper Scissors at W.J. Morrison Elementary School in Troy will come to a conclusion on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

During a free family night, which includes a spaghetti dinner, students in kindergarten through sixth grade will square off in the popular hand game often used by children as a selection method similar to coin flipping, throwing dice or drawing straws.

"The kids are just (filled) with energy about the Rock Paper Scissors contest," said Ouisie Chanin, president of Troy Parent-Teacher Association. "Enthusiasm from the kids is what we want."

Troy PTA will co-host the family night with Troy Fine Arts Council and Flathead Valley Chemical Dependency Clinic. The free meal will be served from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The evening also will include a talent show and an essay contest for students in kindergarten through sixth grades, and a return appearance by puppeteer extraordinaire Beth Nixon.

Ralph Stever, substance abuse counselor and prevention specialist with Flathead Valley Chemical Dependency Clinic for Lincoln and Sanders counties, is the force behind the event.

"One of the risk factors we work with is a sense of community attachment," Stever said. "It's important to bring family into the schools and get them more involved."

"We're working on building a sense of community at the school, supporting each other and the many talents of our children," Chanin added.

Nearly 40 students are expected for the Rock Paper Scissors finals.

"What I like about Rock Paper Scissors is that a kindergartener has the potential of beating a sixth-grader," Stever said. "It's very luck oriented, it goes fast and you don't need any tools."

"The interesting thing about it is the winners are really balanced," he continued. "They're not just the smart kids and the athletes. We have a good mix, a lot of at-risk kids."

Twelve to 16 finalists will be chosen for the talent show.

"They can do anything from sing to dance to tell jokes or play an instrument," Stever said.

As for the essay contests, students in kindergarten through second grades can write a paragraph or draw a picture to the theme "what I love about my family." Third- and fourth-grades will do an essay to "what I love about my school" and fifth- and sixth-graders, "what I love about Troy."

Puppeteer Beth Nixon, who also will attend, will be in Troy for several weeks beginning in mid-April. With Ramshackle Enterprises in Philadelphia, Nixon created a puppet parade and extravaganza four years ago in Troy.

This time she will incorporate the theme of storytelling into her artist-in-residency at Morrison Elementary. Each class will create a story along with puppets to animate their stories for two community performances at Troy High School.

"She makes everything from recycled materials, so we've had kids collecting stuff for about three months," Stever said.