FARMINGTON — Third- and fourth-grade students at Bluffview Elementary School have been practicing their percussion and backhand skills as part of a new after-school program.

Three teachers at the school have finished a six-week, after-school program that taught students tennis and drumming.

The teachers hope to expand the program in the spring.

Music teacher Kelly Yost hosted a drum class, while third-grade teacher Corky Blackwater and gym teacher Kathy Lund taught tennis at nearby Mossman Gladden Park.

"I think this is the first time something like this has been here," Yost said.

Eight students signed up for Yost's drum group, which met for 45 minutes after school on Wednesdays.

Shaun Paul, left, and Shane Mercado participate in a drumming class Wednesday at Bluffview Elementary School in Farmington.
Shaun Paul, left, and Shane Mercado participate in a drumming class Wednesday at Bluffview Elementary School in Farmington. (Jon Austria / The Daily Times)

Third-grader Shaun Paul said he was nervous for the first drum class, but, after making friends, the class was enjoyable.

"(Yost) would give us a rhythm, then we would say our name and our favorite food," Paul said.

Yost said she noticed her students' confidence levels rise as they became more comfortable playing the drums.

"We've done a lot of improvising, which is scary because they have to come out of their shell," Yost said. "I noticed it particularly last week, that it was really coming together. Their rhythm, their confidence, their joy."

Yost hasn't finalized what after-school program she'll offer next semester, but she mentioned a choir group or a xylophone class.

Blackwater and Lund, who organized the after-school tennis classes, taught 26 students, with help from Farmington High School tennis coaches Pat McGrath and Larry Larson.

"The kids have been learning basic tennis skills," Lund said. "For our first try, this is fabulous. It was only open for third and fourth grade because we didn't want to have too big of a group."

Students on the court practiced tennis techniques with a mixture of drills and games.

Third-grade student Kaci Sherman said she had never played tennis before, but she wanted to see if she could perform like a tennis player on TV.

"I like learning new things and how to do stuff," Sherman said. "It's all just fun."

McGrath, who taught students to keep score with a points-based tennis drill, said he enjoyed watching students realize their potential.

"When you watch them and they don't get it, they don't get it," McGrath said. "Then a light turns on. They're like, 'Ohhh.'"

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.