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Mark Twain Elementary School History
Our Namesake and our Mascot
Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel L. Clemens, he developed this name while working as a
journalist for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. The name, Mark Twain, is steamboat slang for
twelve feet of water.
His work as a journalist started two years after he achieved his dream of getting a steamboat pilots
license, he was twenty-three. He was only a steamboat pilot for two years before the Civil War broke
out, after which the civilian travel on the river had mostly stopped.
In 1865 he wrote the book that was big break, at the time it was called “Jim Smiley and His Jumping
Frog”. This book is now called “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County “.
It is in this book that we tie our namesake, Mark Twain, to our mascot, Dan’l Webster. Yes, our mascot
has a name! Did you know?
In the book, the narrator is sent by a friend to interview an old man, Simon
Wheeler, who might know the location of an old acquaintance named Leonidas
W. Smiley. Finding Simon at an old mining camp, the narrator asks him if he
knows anything about Leonidas; Simon appears not to, and instead tells a story
about Jim Smiley, a man who had visited the camp years earlier.
Jim loves to gamble and will offer to bet on anything and everything, from horse
races to dogfights to the health of the local parson's wife. He catches a frog,
whom he names Dan'l Webster and trains to jump over the course of three
months. When a stranger visits the camp, Jim shows off Dan'l and offers to bet
$40 that he can out-jump any other frog in Calaveras County. The stranger,
unimpressed, says that he would take the bet if he had a frog, and Jim goes out
to catch one, leaving him alone with Dan'l. While Jim is away, the stranger pours
lead shot down Dan'l's throat. Once Jim returns, he and the stranger set the
frogs down and let them loose. The stranger's frog jumps away while Dan'l does
not budge, and the surprised and disgusted Jim pays the $40 wager. After the
stranger has departed, Jim notices Dan'l's sluggishness and picks the frog up,
finding it to be much heavier than he remembers. When Dan'l belches out a
double handful of lead shot, Jim realizes that he has been cheated and chases
after the stranger, but never catches him.
At this point in the story, Simon excuses himself to go outside for a moment.
The narrator realizes that Jim has no connection to Leonidas and gets up to
leave, only to have Simon stop him at the door, offering to tell about a oneeyed, stubby-tailed cow that Jim had owned. Rather than stay to hear another
pointless story, the narrator excuses himself and leaves.
Mark Twain Elementary School History Week
Exploring Our Namesake and Our Mascot
Fun, just for you!
Sam was born and died around the time of a visit from Halley's Comet.
• What is your dream job?
• What would your pen name
• How deep is twelve feet?
• How far can your frog
• What does a steamboat
• What color(s) are frogs?
• What would you see
The Clemens family had 19 cats at one time during Twain’s childhood. Over
the years he gave his cats inventive names such as Bambino, Famine,
Pestilence, Satan, Sin, Sour Mash, and Stray Kit.
Sam had more pen names throughout his writing career, Thomas Jefferson
Snodgrass, W. Epaminondas Adrastus Blab, Sergeant Fathom, and Rambler.
Mark Twain suffered from bouts of depression and physically from years of
constipation. Nikola Tesla shocked Twain in Twain’s first Tesla Salon, which
Twain swore cured his constipation. The two became life long friends
following the event.
Thomas Edison took the only video footage we have of Sam. Sam died one
year later. (This is where we get the white suit Mark Twain wears.”
Sam learned how to pilot a riverboat on the “Pennsylvania”.
Mark Twain is more known as a novelist today, his popularity at the time was
also due to his solo humorous talks, akin to stand-up comedy today.
Kevin Malone composed an opera of Twain’s book, Mysterious Strangers.
‘Mysterious 44”, premiered in May 2014. The opera is two acts (about two
hours long and available on YouTube) and is narrated by Richard Dawkins.
The humor here is Clemends’ feelings of the opera are, “I have never heard
enough classical music to be able to enjoy it; & the simple truth is, I detest it.
Not mildly, but will all my heart.”
• What makes Samuel L
Clemens writing unique?
Angles Camp is located in Calaveras County, every year they have a Jumping
Frog Jubilee. You may rent a frog that will stay in the “Frog Spa” until jumping
time, this is to protect the welfare of the California Bullfrogs.
• Where are other “Mark
Museums, National Parks,
The modern Frog Jump started in 1928, the current record holder is Rosie the
Ribeter at a little over twenty-one feet!
• What was life like in
the 1860s? (Dress,
Music, Art, Culture,
Mark Twain Quotes:
• How did they mine then,
“A man who is lives fully is prepared to die at anytime”
Dan’l, when jumping, “He did somersaults and is described by the narrator as
“whirling in the air like a doughnut.” Despite his jumping prowess, he is
described as modest and straightforward.”
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the
day you find out why.”
“Worrying is paying a debt you don’t owe.”
“Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.”
“Why not go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.”
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
Mark Twain Elementary School History
August 23rd ,2017
Mark Twain Elementary opened its doors on August 26th, 1954. At that time, we were the largest school in APS with
21-classrooms. Our school has had a chorus, a brownie group, a band, a harmonica band (comprised of staff only),
We have always fostered a culture of caring,
accepting and a future good citizens. In 1995, the
students organized a reception for a former
teacher who had taught at Mark Twain for nine
years, promoted to principal at a different school
and had to retire early because of a cancer diagnosis.
Then in 1965, the fifth graders joined the Peace Corps in “The Junior Peace Corps” and spend months creating and
collecting school supplies for “Friendship Boxes” that were sent to Ecuador. “The school [Mark Twain] is a part of a
model community organized about two years ago with Peace Corps help. The community has been named El Esfuerzo
(The Effort), and Kennedy School No. 1.” - Albuquerque Journal April 10th, 1965.
In 1960 our sixth graders created a sort of exchange program with the Albuquerque Indian School where they took
turns switching classes and having dances, skating parties, and teaching each other about their cultures.
We had a “Authors’ Day” during “American Book Week” in November of 1960. There were thirteen known authors
invited for a Authors’ Tea that took place in the library.
In 1992 our inclusion was one of eight schools in the United Stated that was studied and then an example for the
country by a division of the Counsel For Exceptional Children. There were two programs, “Buddy Classes” and
“Effective collaboration at Mark Twain is the result of a belief on
the part of the staff and principal that an environment is needed
that provides a variety of activities to need the diverse needs of all
the students in the school. The benefits of collaboration have been
an acceptance of differences by students of others and self.
Teachers have also been able to expand their teaching skills, which
provides students with the expertise of both the general educator
and the special educator.”
Mark Twain Elementary School History Week
Exploring Our School
Fun, just for you!:
Mark Twain was a part of a five-year study that started
with first graders. In this study, there were four meetings
every year that would bring staff and families together to
foster better school and home relations and to make the
newest publications on child growth and development.
Sixty parents attended!
1954—UNM students from the Music Education Program
directed a play “The First Christmas” with the second
Diane Diamond, a reporter for WXBS-TV, known for her
coverage of Michael Jackson during the 1990’s. She was an
alum of Mark Twain’s.
In 2001, we created a restaurant in portable six, called
“The Riverboat Café”, it was known as one of
Albuquerque’s most unusual “restaurants”. It was a part of
our gifted program, it started with six kids (ages nine and
ten). Lunch was $2.50 it included ice tea, an entrée and a
desert. Guests were comprised of parents and
grandparents, staff, and students, a reservation was
required, only thirty-five guests, open one day a week!
John Baker was an alum of Mark Twain, known for his
record breaking cross country runs and coaching at Aspen
Elementary. “ “Effective collaboration at Mark Twain is the
result of a belief on the part of the staff and principal that
an environment is needed that provides a variety of
activities to need the diverse needs of all the students in
the school. The benefits of collaboration have been an
acceptance of differences by students of others and self.
Teachers have also been able to expand their teaching
skills, which provides students with the expertise of both
the general educator and the special educator.”
Mark Twain “Samuel L Clemmons, was alive when our
We have at least 17 sister Mark Twain Elementary Schools.
• What do you think life
was like in 1956?
• What would you like to
see our school make
the papers for? (Not
including what we
already have :))
• What events have
become tradition at
• What foods are your
favorite? What would
you want to serve at
the Riverboat Café?
• What would $2.50 buy
you then? How about
• Make some music! Play
• Have your own Authors
Tea! Sit read books
and enjoy some tea (or
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