“The purpose of the family carnival is just to get families out and to have fun, provide them with an inexpensive fun time with their kids,” community school co-ordinator Therese Gerow said.
“We don’t charge for the games or entrance. It’s just the food that is sold at a very minimal cost.”
The family spring carnival has a long history. Formerly held in conjunction with a year-end barbecue, the school made the decision to separate the two events so as to provide more opportunities for families to come out together.
Years ago, when Gerow was involved with the school as a parent, the carnival took place in the evening. But in recent years, the trend had been to hold it during the school day.
Gerow offered two reasons why the school decided to switch the festival back to evenings.
“Firstly, we want to get the parents out,” she said. “We want to get families together and having fun and feeling comfortable in the school.
“And then the other reason, too, is that we’re not taking time away from class (and) learning … Kids aren’t spending a day having a carnival. They’re spending an evening having fun with their family.”
Besides carnival food, kids in attendance had their pick of fun activities to participate in.
Among the many available options were a hockey shoot, ring toss, mini-putt, ball throw, bean bag toss, basketball, bowling, tick-tack-toe and a card guess game. Two classrooms were also used for a fish pond and face-painting.
All carnival attendees had the chance to purchase tickets for a Chinese auction. Raffle and door prizes were also available, having been donated by local businesses and members of the community.
Any profit generated by the carnival will go right back to the students.
“That will go to purchase playground equipment -- balls and toys and whatever, just to keep the kids busy on the playground,” Gerow said.
“That’s something that is an ongoing need. Last year, when we had carnival and barbecue together, we were in the process of having adding additional playground equipment, and so that’s where the money went. So this year any small profit that we make will go to the playground as well.”
The purpose of the family carnival is just to get families out and to have fun, provide them with an inexpensive fun time with their kids. - Therese Gerow
St. Michael’s School Community Council is responsible for planning and organizing the family spring carnival each year, relying for help on staff and members of the community.
Volunteers are a crucial part of the carnival. The success of this year’s event depended in large part on the help of approximately 10 staff members, 10 parents and community members, and 15 students who signed up to offer their assistance.
“It’s a really big part of this school, because it’s a community school,” Gerow said.
“We really strive to have community involvement and parental involvement. Volunteerism is big.”
Based on all indications, the school’s carnival tradition looks to continue well into the future.
“It’ll be an annual event,” Gerow said. “And I think as long as I’m here as the co-ordinator, we’ll continue to do it as a family event in the evening.”