GALLIPOLIS — Students in Kemberlee Hood’s Southern Ohio Digital Academy (SODA) class were recently given a unique assignment.
SODA, which was started about five years ago in the Gallia County Local Schools District, provides local students with access to education via remote learning. The program began long before the coronavirus pandemic but, as Hood put it, “has been a godsend this year for some of our families.”
According to a news release about SODA, the program was first made available for high school students and was expanded to grades K-12 this year to accommodate parents who felt the need to educate their children at home due to safety and health issues associated with COVID-19.
The epicenter of the SODA program is located in Allen Hall on the campus of the University of Rio Grande. Hood said the program was “the brainchild of several of our teachers/administrators” at Gallia Local whom she credits for its formation and success.
SODA utilizes the Pearson Connexus teaching program and one of the recent assignments for students was to write a travel article about their favorite time of year in the community in which they live.
Hood’s third graders were specifically asked to write an assignment describing the city of Gallipolis and “Gallipolis In Lights” in City Park. Listed below are some of the submissions pulled from SODA students from Addaville, Hannan Trace, Southwestern and Vinton elementary schools. Some of the activities students listed have since been altered due to COVID-19 but that didn’t dampen the Christmas spirit of the assignments.
A Holiday in Gallipolis, by Aiden Mills, Addaville Elementary:
The city of Gallipolis is a rural town in southern Ohio that is a proud community.
Gallipolis is known as the City of the Gauls and has a French heritage. During the holiday season, my favorite time of the year in Gallipolis, our little town really comes together. From Thanksgiving to January we have Gallipolis in Lights. It’s a huge lighting in the park done by tons of people in our community and local shops. There are Christmas trees that are decorated and dedicated to people and places. Multiple local stores donate their time and money to help make the town beautiful during this time.
Other highlights to Gallipolis are our indoor activities which include a bowling alley (Skyline Lanes), Movie Theater (Silver Screen VII) and one of my personal favorites BoardRoom46. BoardRoom46 is a fun place to go they have a gift shop and painting workshops. I love going in to paint new things as either gifts or to hang up on my wall.
Let’s not forget about our many outdoor activities as well! Gallipolis also has a golf course and walking trails great for summertime. We are also located right next to the Ohio River where the fishing is very popular and really fun. One of my favorites is going up to Mound Hill Cemetery where you can actually see the entire town in all its glory.
In conclusion, Gallipolis is a beautiful town filled with wonderful people and places to go. My mom says it makes her think of a Hallmark movie and if I know one thing, she’s always right. We hope to see you in our little town soon!
The Best Time of Year, by Landry Riffe, Hannan Trace Elementary:
The best time of the year to visit Gallipolis is winter. If you visit in the winter, you should always bring a coat to keep warm. You may be able to visit when the snow is on the ground. The park in town gets decorated with Christmas lights and if you come on the right day, you may be able to see the lights with the park snow covered. They decorate the real trees in the park with lights. They also put up Christmas trees and decorate them with ornaments and lights. People come from all around to see the park decorated. The park is right beside the Ohio River and you can see the boats going up and down the river. Another reason it is great to visit in our town is the library. Our library has had some really cool exhibits the last few years. They even had a space exhibit that was really awesome.
Gallipolis in Lights! By Tommy Spencer, Vinton Elementary:
Winter is a magical time to visit my community. We have Gallipolis in Lights! For all of December you are able to visit our park. The weather is cold and sometimes there is snow on the ground. The park is beside of the Ohio River. All kinds of people come here to see this magical place. People like to go there on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to hear the Christmas music and look at all of the lights and decorated trees.
People from our community decorate the trees. You can see big snowflakes in the trees that are lit up. Kids can visit Santa Claus during the month of December. He has a little house and you can sit with him to tell him what you want for Christmas! You can even get hot chocolate! People are very happy when they come here and have lots of joy.
Gallipolis In Lights, located in Gallipolis, Ohio by Tyler Blazer, Vinton Elementary:
The best time to visit Gallipolis is in December. There are millions and maybe billions of lights in the park on the riverfront. There is a lighting ceremony that is pretty neat to watch. There is hot cocoa, Santa, shopping, eating, entertainment and more. The Bandstand is located at the center of the park and it is lit up beautifully. There are 4 long sidewalks that go out from the bandstand and they are lined with Christmas trees. People from all over the community decorate them. From schools, to memorials, businesses, and some just pretty decorated ones from families. Lights that dance to music, plus some carriage rides with horses that go all the way around the park. It’s a winter wonderland.
The weather is usually cold, so jacket, gloves and toboggan are best so you can enjoy the lights longer. It is amazing to walk through it and see all of them. There is shopping across the street and eating so you can enjoy the lights more. The community loves this time of year and they go all out. When it snows it makes it even better. You can even go to other shopping and places to eat down the road. On a big hill, at a cemetery, you can see the lights from above. It sure is a sight! They make you feel warm and happy. There is nothing better than the lights in Gallipolis. It’s the best!
Visit Gallipolis, the Magical Christmas Town! By Tucker Grubbs, Southwestern Elementary:
The best time of the year to visit Gallipolis is in the winter time! The winter weather in Gallipolis is typically mild with occasional snowfall but that definitely can change at the drop of a hat, so wear something warm and cozy or layers just in case.
There are lots of things to do here in the winter time. First, if you’re into basketball, you could come watch my school team, THE SOUTHWESTERN HIGHLANDERS, shoot some hoops. We have games nearly every Saturday and we love to have the support of the community watching us play. You can also grab a sled and go sleigh riding in the snow, build a snowman, or have a snowball fight!
You could take a drive downtown to the local park and see the beautiful Gallipolis in Lights display. The community works hard on these to make a wonderful Christmas display for families to enjoy every year. There are many decorated trees for the local schools and businesses. Many are lit up in memory of a lost loved one. You could walk across the street and see Santa or get hot cocoa from Sprinkle and Pop. These are my favorite things to do here during the winter time.
Information provided by Kemberlee Hood. Beth Sergent contributed to this article.
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