Gulfstream Teams With Gulfstream Middle School on Derby Art Contest
When Gulfstream Park approached Gulfstream Middle School late last year about the possibility of creating artwork to celebrate the histories of Hallandale Beach and the Florida Derby while capturing the spirit of Thoroughbred racing, Principal Brian Kingsley was elated about the opportunity.
To Kingsley, it was an opportunity to connect the past with the present.
“It’s a principal's dream to make sure what we’re teaching our kids is relevant,” said Kingsley.
The Florida Derby Art Contest was open to all 425 students at Gulfstream Middle School. Partnering with the Hallandale Beach Historical Society and Kiwanis Club, students participating in the art contest were given a book about the history of Hallandale Beach so they would better understand the past and present.
Many of the students worked on their artwork at home, but several worked on the project after school with Collette Williams, a reading teacher at Gulfstream Middle School who also spends her time making sure students have opportunities to connect with the city and other non-profits.
The artwork will be displayed at Gulfstream the week of the Florida Derby and winners will be honored during a presentation in Gulfstream's winner's circle and receive an iPad and iPod shuffle
“I think you’ll be impressed with a lot of the artwork that we’re going to exhibit,” said Kingsley. "The main focus of this project is to express the relevance between what we teach and what is also going on in the community, which is why partnerships like Gulfstream Park are so critical and important. Partnerships are a huge component of the functions of public school, as Gulfstream Middle School is the smallest middle school in all of Broward County.
“We are tremendously dependent upon strong business partnerships, corporate partnerships. Knowing that our city and Gulfstream Park is willing and able to partner with a school is absolutely outstanding. There is so much more than horse racing that takes place at Gulfstream Park. Many of the parents of children who attend Gulfstream Middle School want to be part of it, and many of the students enjoy all of the entertainment that is offered.
“For our families in the community to see Gulfstream Park completely connected with our school, it just makes our city that much stronger."
What makes this project unique for Gulfstream Middle School is that students, while drawing or coloring, are also learning social studies and science while reading about the history of the city, Gulfstream Park and the Florida Derby.
“This was my first art contest and I love the creativity of it because I had to come up with a theme in which they would follow,” said Williams.
The theme chosen for Gulfstream was ‘Race to the Top.' Students had to include the Florida Derby or Gulfstream into their art while also integrating the local community.
And, of course, it didn't hurt that there were prizes for the winners.
“One of the huge motivating factors when going into this competition was what the prize was going to be, and we want to thank Gulfstream Park for awarding the winner of this competition with a brand new iPad, and the runner up an iPod shuffle," Kingsley said.
Kingsley said Gulfstream Middle School is also working with Gulfstream Park to create a play in May named 'Then and Now.' The play would be held at The Village at Gulfstream Park. Students will work with local seniors in the community to bridge the generational gap between what Hallandale Beach used to be like and where it’s headed in the future.
“We want our kids to not only attend schools here but we want them to stay here, live here and be productive citizens. I really believe this project has made that happen, so we’re very grateful for that,” said Kingsley.