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Blackhawk Mascot Teaches Coronavirus Prevention
Blackhawk Mascot Teaches Coronavirus Prevention
Posted on 04/07/2020
A good laugh can help you remember something serious, especially when Mr. Blackhawk is involved.

By: Benjamin Rickert, BCS Communications

Clay Martin directs and records with Jennifer Banks and Heidi Allison.A good laugh can help you remember something serious, especially when Mr. Blackhawk is involved. The whole idea started when Weaverville mom and PTO president Jennifer Banks was jogging by Weaverville Primary school a few weeks ago with a lot on her mind.

“It was when the news was first saying that we were going to be out of school because of coronavirus,” Banks explained. “I was feeling a little worried and anxious. But then I started thinking about the kids. I thought, ‘How can we cheer them up?’”

Banks remembered that the Weaverville Schools PTO had access to the Blackhawk mascot’s costume. It was a plush and cartoonish outfit she had worn on several occasions to the students’ delight, and she knew it would be a perfect way to teach them about coronavirus prevention. After her run, Banks researched resources on Google and found five helpful tips the World Health Organization recommended in mid-March.

“I wanted to teach the kids how to be safe and healthy in a way that would make sense to them,” she said. “I think things are easier to remember when we can connect them to something funny!”

The five lessons written down by Mr. Blackhawk.With a little help from her kids — Sophia, Luke, and Ellen — Banks drafted up a silly storyline in which Mr. Blackhawk wants to put the safety tips into practice, but just can’t seem to get them right. (For example, instead of washing his hands, Mr. Blackhawk tried to wash his hams! Oops.) They named the five-part story after the repeated theme in each segment: "Mr. Blackhawk, what are you doing?"

Banks called her friend and video guru Clay Martin, who also works as the art teacher for both Weaverville Elementary and Primary schools, and pitched the idea to him as a series of short videos. The two then laughed their way through each production with help from music teacher Cindy Roop, physical education teacher Paul Buckley, Mr. Martin’s son Daniel, and principals Stephen Chandler and Heidi Allison. Banks enjoyed her latest role as the iconic Mr. Blackhawk.

“Hopefully, when they think of these funny ideas, then they’ll remember the real rule,” Martin said.

Clay Martin records a scene from the Mr. Blackhawk series.Martin has a long history of creating engaging video productions with students. In 2014, Martin and Buckley started what is today called the Weaverwood Film & Drama Guild. The after-school club has created feature-length productions each year since 2016. Last year, Weaverwood earned a North Carolina Film Award for their film Cubes. This year, the club hopes to complete a new project called Cliques.

Martin was glad to partner with Banks in presenting serious and timely information for students in a fun, memorable way.

“These are five recommendations for staying healthy, and Mr. Blackhawk gets every one of them wrong!” he added with a laugh.

View all five Mr. Blackhawk videos on the Weaverville Schools PTO Facebook page:

1. Wash Your Hands
2. Cough Into Your Elbow 
3. Do Not Touch Your Face
4. If You Are Sick, Stay at Home
5. Social Distancing

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Photos provided by: Clay Martin, Daniel Martin, and Jennifer Banks.

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin, shanon.martin@bcsemail.org, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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