- Published on Tuesday, 27 February 1996 19:20
- Written by Mitzi Trumbo - Special to the Town Crier
Loyola School kindergartners learn their numbers in many ways, but they have most fun with the mysterious visits of the legendary Captain Zero, who secretly visits the school every 10th day and leaves his "zero treats" - lifesavers, pretzels, and other goodies - which are, or course, counted (and consumed) by one and all.
This activity is well integrated with the district math program.
"The concept of zero is actually very abstract, so this makes it real and accessible to the children," said Loyola Principal Kit Cosgriff. "Zero the hero has been a tremendously motivating character for our kindergartners."
On the 100th day of school, Captain Zero visits the class in person, much to the excitement and anticipation of the children. This year, Shari Elmer's class was surprised by none other than Dick Liewer, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction of the Los Altos School District (incognito, of course), who gamely donned the duds of the famous Captain Zero, red cape, tights and all.
"Dick was my principal when I taught at Blach Junior High School," Elmer said. "I know how much he likes being in a classroom and how much he likes kids, so I thought I could talk him into it pretty easily. It didn't take too much talking."
Liewer led the children in a dance around the room, played counting games, sang songs and answered questions, and left them with doughnuts as a 100th-day-of-school treat.
"I think its delightful to work with kindergartners - they're still so full of wonder and they're so literal in their impressions of things," said Liewer of the experience. "And it's a lot more fun than sitting in the office computing the CAT5 results for the district," he added.
The kindergartners were delighted by the appearance of their famous visitor.
"He gave us treats - shaped like zeros," said Trevor Campbell.
"He came in real life." added Kristen Maher. "I want him to come again!"