Kids prove Hillpoint rocks

Published 9:57 pm Monday, May 22, 2017

Students at Hillpoint Elementary School have been enjoying a brand-new school activity inspired by the popularity of “Suffolk Rocks.”

Special education teacher Mary Beth Gribble started “Hillpoint Rocks” on May 16 with the help of her students. Nine of her students have painted small rocks with a variety of bright colors and designs that are hidden throughout the school for the rest of the students to find.

Gribble said she got the idea by watching families go rock-crazy on the “Suffolk Rocks” Facebook page.

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“I saw how much fun adults were having with it all over town, taking their kids and looking for rocks,” she said.

The rocks also provide a positive outlet for the students taking Standards of Learning tests.

“It’s something to boost morale and encourage everybody this time of year,” Gribble said.

Her students began to decorate the rocks on May 16, and she hid around the school before students arrived the following morning. Joshua Outlaw, an 8-year-old student, painted his rock pink.

“I sure did,” Joshua said.

Gribble said up to 22 rocks can be found throughout the school, hiding around corners, beside stairwells, and on the playground. Students in the third through fifth grades can find these rocks outside of class time and turn them in to their teachers for prizes.

The younger students that aren’t taking SOLs are also encouraged to find them.

“I want everybody to get on board with it,” Gribble said.

Mario Scott, an 11-year-old fifth-grade student, was the first to find some of the hidden rocks. This was even before the school announced the activity on the intercom.

“I was just looking around, and then I just saw it,” Mario said. “It caught my eye.”

He turned in two rocks that day. One was pink and black with yellow polka dots, with “do your best” written on it. The other was red and black, with a sun painted on it and one word: shine.

He was justly rewarded for his efforts.

“I got a pencil, eraser and a little bag of Skittles,” he said.

He said he was excited by the school’s new activity, as he was already active in “Suffolk Rocks” with his family. He described finding a rock painted with a likeness of a Minion character behind a grocery store.

“You get to explore more,” he said.

Third-grade student Devin Allen saw her friend find one in the school and got excited. The 8-year-old then joyfully found one herself on a window, with “smile” written on it. She immediately took it to her classroom for a bookmark and a lollipop.

“It tasted liked strawberries and blueberries,” Devin said. “It was good.”

All rocks the students turn in are re-hidden, and Gribble plans to continue the game until the end of the school year. Until then, about 800 students at Hillpoint Elementary will keep looking for more rocks in different spots.

“I’m gonna look on the stairs,” Devin said.