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‘SharkFest’ ‘attacks’ at Bob Jones before spring break

Published 4:04pm Thursday, March 28, 2013

MADISON – “Pre-Spring Break SharkFest” wasn’t a campy SyFy movie but did ‘attack’ Bob Jones High School students (especially their noses).

On March 22 before spring break, students in Tim Ames’ marine biology class dissected dogfish sharks.

Bob Jones Principal Robby Parker hadn’t planned to record an episode of his “Principal’s Corner” videos before the break but decided the Pre-Spring SharkFest was just “too good not to film. The smell got me down the hall, and I ultimately realized it was something really good,” Parker said.

Parker warned viewers that they would see dead sharks and “some of their ‘innards’ … well, ‘internal organs.’ I’m glad you can’t smell it. It smells horrible.”

Ames’ students were divided into two-member dissecting teams. Armed with only scissors and ruler, the teenagers first removed the fins and both sides of the underbelly, along the lateral line and up toward the gill plate, Ames said.

“Then, we’re going to look at the heart and lungs,” one boy said. “We’re going to dissect the whole thing.”

Students exposed and pointed out the heart, liver, gall bladder and stomach. “Has the shark eaten anything today?” Parker asked. “Poke it,” a student said. “That stomach is full.” The stomach probably contained fish, shrimp and krill.

“These students do a wonderful job,” Ames said. Students dissected mature, not fetal, dogfish sharks, which live in the North Atlantic and North Pacific near the Arctic region. This species is a schooling variety of shark.

Parker told a student that the shark’s heart was small. “They’re basically ‘heartless,’” the student said. “They will eat anything. They’ve got a big liver to digest anything.”

Students encouraged Parker to stay for the brain dissection “if you want to stick around.”

“It’s 2:35 p.m. on Friday before Spring Break, and our teachers are still teaching,” Parker said. “We’ve got the best students and best teachers in Alabama.”

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