Radiation science students host school games
by Walter Brooks, UNMC public affairs

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Jim Temme, left, and daughter, Abby McGinnis, chat with Andre Merritt, right, and his son, Tybon. Photos by Walter Brooks.
Jim Temme, associate director of UNMC's Radiation Science Technology Division, never could say no to his daughter. So when Abby McGinnis, a kindergarten teacher at Miller Park Elementary School in North Omaha, asked if Temme could round up a few volunteers to help out at the school's first carnival on Nov. 4, he said no problem.

Temme's radiation science students have yet to meet a request for volunteers they didn't like. Last year they helped decorate the Ronald McDonald House for Christmas. This time 25 students helped host more than 20 entertainment games and events at the newly inaugurated Miller Park Elementary School Carnival.

"Miller Park School has 347 students and we had more than 400 children and parents turn out for our carnival," said Annette-Shannon Falkner, Miller Park School community liaison. "This is the first time we've ever tried something like this and it was a smashing success.

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Radiation Science students Brooke Weinrich, left, and Angie Zitek host the rubber ducky pond game.
"We absolutely would have been overwhelmed without the radiation science students to help us. Many of the games we set up needed up to three volunteers to run them smoothly. Many people from the neighborhood told me how well everything was run and how nice all the UNMC students were with the children."

Miller Park Elementary School has neighborhood and parental support that ranks with the best in Omaha, according to Carol Batt, assistant principal. She said that Falkner has cultivated extraordinary community relations in the surrounding neighborhood. The school gets 98 percent-plus compliance for parent-teacher conferences and other administrative requests.

"People who come to our school are really impressed with the level of parent participation," said Falkner. "We've been doing so well I suggested we throw some kind of party in appreciation for the neighborhood and the carnival idea came out of that. What was really pleasing to so many of the teachers and staff was seeing so many former students come back for the carnival and expressing their pride in Miller Park."

"The carnival is just an outstanding event," Temme said. "This was an old fashioned carnival, with cake walk and assorted ring tosses, floating rubber ducks, the works. The gymnasium also had a 'Moon Walk' balloon bounce rooms, so it was the best of the old and best of the new. And from kindergarten and up, everybody could participate in just about everything.

"I'm always happy to help out my daughter and her colleagues. But I am really glad to have these types of opportunities for our radiation science students. We have a great bunch of students who are always willing to give something extra."

Radiation science also had a display table informing students and parents about UNMC's School of Allied Health Professions. "I chatted with a number of people about careers in Allied Health," Temme said. "It was a great night all the way around."

Date Published: Friday, November 19, 2004