A stench, a scalpel & an eyeball

SHARKS

Some sort of sea animal stench smacks me in the face when I walk through the door at Buford Elementary. I know what I’m getting into when I decide to film it.

The smell gets stronger the closer I get to the classroom – the classroom with dead, two-foot-long dogfish sharks on the table.

I don’t think I can make it through the lesson these fourth graders are about to have – dissecting sharks.

Some students stand there wide-eyed. Some look like they’re about to be sick to their stomachs. Some just hold their noses.

I want to hold my nose, too.

I stand there unsure how to feel about dead sharks lying on newspapers with my byline.

The teacher explains how to use the two tools – scissors and a scalpel – sitting in aluminum pie pans on the center of each table.

That’s when the kids are ready to dig in.

And boy, some of them start hacking away as they make the I-shaped cut on the stomachs of their sharks.

Some smells go away after a few minutes of getting used to. This smell isn’t one of them. A mix of formalin and dead fish to be exact.

The teacher finally opens one of the classroom doors that leads outside. So, obviously, that’s where I duck out to fill my lungs.

I learn the liver is the largest organ in the shark, which they pull out in one piece with the gallbladder attached. I also learn what it looks like when a kid dangles shark liver in front of my camera.

Then, it’s time for “free cuts.”

If they weren’t hacking the sharks up before, they definitely are now.

The eyeballs and brains come out during free cuts.

And when one student pops a shark’s eyeball out, sending it soaring through the air and rolling between my feet, I know it’s time to go.

Follow Hannah Louise Strong on Twitter @HannahLStrong

Author: Hannah Louise Strong

Hannah is a reporter at The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C. She spent nearly two years as the education reporter at The Lancaster News in Lancaster, S.C. after graduating from college. She won seven awards from her reporting in Lancaster, including first place in enterprise reporting for a story she wrote after a ride along with the police chief during a homicide. Hannah has a Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communication from Winthrop University. She was raised in Pawleys Island. In her spare time, she enjoys blogging, photography, gardening and reading. Her day starts after her first cup of coffee.

One thought on “A stench, a scalpel & an eyeball”

  1. I love your blog; the “pound cake” one is my favorite so far. And the one about keeping your maiden name was wonderful. I wish I had.

    And …. I found what remains of the blog I wrote a few years ago. I thought I had archived some posts that I would be able to review later. But- here’s what remains:

    arewehavingfunnow.blogspot.com

    BTW: I’m Madeline/Maddie’s mom. Not sure if you recognize my pseudonym

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