The Fifth-Graders are Coming!

A fourth-grader takes charge of playground bullying


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Photo by Joel Blit/Shutterstock.com

History. We can learn a lot from it. An inventor’s idea that proved successful. A leader’s decision that changed the world. Other stories where the nice guy, or gal, finished first. Conversely, history includes wars, the Great Depression and events we’d just as soon not have to explain to our children.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve sheltered Jessie from select topics. However, as she reminds me — all the time — she is 10. My wife and I allow her to read the newspaper, but we can’t clip out all the stories we wish her young eyes didn’t have to see. It’s better, though, to get an explanation of an upsetting current event from Mom or Dad than from a fourth-grade classmate. Still, my inclination is to wrap my arms around her, to fight her battles and, yes, to shelter her. 

Battles and challenges closer to home can pop up anytime. One day during the drive home from school, Jessie said her fourth-grade class was having trouble with some fifth-grade boys interrupting their game at recess. My first thought was, “I’ll go to school tomorrow and you won’t need to worry about those fifth-grade bullies.” Okay, I didn’t really think that — but my initial reaction focused on “Dad to the rescue!”

I suggested that maybe she could gain the assistance of a fifth-grade girl, but finished the conversation with, “I’m sure you’ll work it out.” Jessie knows that her parents, teachers or fellow classmates would not look upon tattling favorably, so she felt she was in a bit of a tight spot. At this point, I’ll let Jessie share her side of the story.


Jessie’s Perspective

Hi, all. We’ve been having a little bit of a fight with some of the fifth-graders at school this year. We go outside before them. When they have recess, they come tearing out to the four square. Now, I don’t have anything against fifth-graders, but I don’t believe that they should ruin our game. I don’t mind if they join us, but they change the rules. One fifth-grader said, “You can spike the ball to the other fifth-graders, but not to these little weaklings.”

Day after day, the fifth-graders took over, until finally one of my best friends and I made a plan for a protest. In social studies, we are learning about when American colonists were mad at the British for having to pay unfair taxes. That’s how all of my friends and I feel. The fifth-graders are forcing us to play by unfair rules or quit. So the words that the colonists said were, “No taxation without representation.” We decided to come up with a protest to rhyme with that. 

Finally, after some hard thinking, my friend said, “I’ve got it!” Though it was my friend’s idea, she didn’t want to join in the protest. So I, by myself, stood in the middle of the four-square game shouting, “No spiketation without rules of the nation!” Now my protest may not have worked, but that’s not the point of this column. My point is to stick up for what you believe in, even when it means humiliating yourself in front of a whole bunch of tough fifth-grade boys. I was not embarrassed at all, however, because I knew that I had stood up for what I believed in. That made me proud.

 

When I picked up Jessie from school that day I asked, “How was recess?” She proudly told me about what she called her “one-woman protest.” My chest puffed out as she described the events on the playground that day. When we arrived home, we called her mom, who was seriously proud, too. Jessie might not have changed the world, or even recess, but she stood up for herself, her friends and her sense of fair play. 

 

Patrick Hempfing had a 20-year professional career in banking, accounting and auditing before he became a father at age 44. He is now a full-time husband, stay-at-home dad and author of “MoMENts: A Dad Holds On” (available at Amazon.com). Follow him at patrickhempfing.com.

J.L. Hempfing began writing with her dad in kindergarten. Her current hobbies include reading, writing, playing clarinet and alto saxophone, and dancing.

 

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August 2019

August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. Come to the Finley Center anytime during the day to share some jokes with the park community. A large board will be set up in the Exhibit Hall where...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: Free

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Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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810 N. First Ave.
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Cost: Free

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Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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See the Game Grumps play games, make jokes and more in this stage show. Purchase tickets online. 

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Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
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Cost: Free

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Bach to Rock Music School
9587 US 64
Apex, NC  27523
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Sponsor: Bach To Rock Music School
Telephone: 919-446-5386
Contact Name: Kelly Foster
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Cost: Free

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Flaherty Park Community Center
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Ages 11-17 learn how to make foods inspired by Asia. Register online. Choose course #124729.

Cost: $35/resident, $46/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC
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Stop in during one of our Back to School Open Houses!  Meet our instructors, tune your instrument, learn a quick song and more!. Aug 12th 7-8:30 Brass & Woodwinds Aug 17th 12:30-2:00...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bach to Rock Music School
9587 US 64
Apex, NC  27523
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Sponsor: Bach To Rock Music School
Telephone: 919-446-5386
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Cost: Free

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Locopops Dessert Cafe
2618 Hillsborough St.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
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Cost: Free

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Harris Lake County Park
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New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
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Cost: Free

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Learning Express Falls Pointe
9660 Falls of Neuse Rd
#130
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Sponsor: Learning Express Falls Pointe
Telephone: 919-325-6057
Contact Name: Stephanie Gillespie
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Cost: Free

Where:
IngenuiTea Kombucha Coffee & Tea
514 E Williams St
APEX, NC  27502
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Sponsor: IngenuiTea Brews
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Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
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Take the fast track to nature in this hands-on study of ecology. Ages 8-12. Register online. Choose course #124972.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

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Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W. Margaret Ln.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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Cost: Free

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GREGG MUSEUM OF ART & DESIGN
1903 Hillsborough Street
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Telephone: 919-515-3503
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Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

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Flaherty Park Community Center
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Cost: Free

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211 N. Main St.
Roxboro, NC  27573
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Sponsor: Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 336-599-8333
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Cost: Free

Where:
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9660 Falls of Neuse Rd
#130
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Sponsor: Learning Express Falls Pointe
Telephone: 919-325-6057
Contact Name: Stephanie Gillespie
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Cost: $15/resident, $19/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: $3/person

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Carrboro Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
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Cost: Free

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Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
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Cost: Free

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Binkley Baptist Church
1712 Willow Dr
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Sponsor: North Carolina Boys Choir and Girls Choir
Telephone: 919-239-9083
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Cost: Free

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Town Hall Campus
316 N. Academy St.
Cary, NC  27513
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Cost: Free

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Leigh Farm Park
370 Leigh Farm Rd.
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Cost: Free

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2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Roxboro
211 N. Main St.
Roxboro, NC  27573
View map »


Sponsor: Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 336-599-8333
Contact Name: Melissa
Website »

More information

Ages 18 months-5 years with special needs enjoy educational and therapeutic toys with caregiver. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn basic canoeing skills and a bit about the millpond's history, then head out to explore the pond's many features as seen only from the water. Canoes, paddles, and life jackets are...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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201 E. Davie St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Learning Express Falls Pointe
9660 Falls of Neuse Rd
#130
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View map »


Sponsor: Learning Express Falls Pointe
Telephone: 919-325-6057
Contact Name: Stephanie Gillespie
Website »

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Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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100 W. Main Street
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Cost: Free

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North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC  27607


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