The Dyer-Kelly students pose with high-school volunteers at the arcade on their bowling day.

Holiday events moved to Fridays in hopes of getting more attendance

The Parents’ Association has decided to move the school events that were originally held on weekends to after school on Fridays.

After watching attendance jump at the combined Fall Family Festival and Homecoming last year, the PA decided that a permanent switch might be needed. According to Kirsten Ferries, PA president and mother of fourth grader Katerina, last year’s combined Fall Family Festival received its best attendance ever.

Attendance to events, such as the Fall Family Festival and Holiday Gift Making Fair, had also been in decline since 2009. The PA had noticed that the number of tickets collected from each craft station had been gradually decreasing by 100-200 tickets each year.

According to Ferries, many lower-school families have sports practices or games on the weekends, and some students live outside of the city limits of Sacramento and don’t want to drive to school on the weekend. In addition, parent volunteers had been having difficulty coming to school on the weekend to set up.

Ferries said she strongly supports the “no weekend” change.

“I believe we need to change with our community’s needs,” Ferries said. “Saturdays are crazy for many families. Friday events allow parents the convenience of attending an event at the same time many would be picking up their child from school.”

However, for some families, the change is not entirely convenient. Eighth grader Aliana and seventh grader Alex Mayer played competitive soccer while in lower school. Despite their having practices and games on the weekend, the Mayers always managed to come to  weekend events.

Miriam Mayer, mother of Aliana and Alex,  said she would have been unable to bring her children to weekday events while they were in lower school because of her work schedule.

“I’m afraid that many (people) might not be able to come. But good things come from new ideas, and I trust a lot of consideration went into making the decision,” Mayer said.

Michelle Jackson, mother of third grader Elijah and kindergartener Eva,  is excited for the change and is confident that her family can participate in more events from now on.

“On the weekend, it’s more difficult to make it to events because my son has sports on the weekends year round, but my children are young and they enjoy attending these activities,” Jackson said.

Due to this change, for the first time ever, the annual Holiday Gift Making Fair was held on Friday, Dec. 5, 3-6 p.m.

Usually, the fair is an all-day event, held on a Saturday, and students from the Dyer-Kelly School attend. This year the Dyer-Kelly kids were unable to participate in the event.

For the past five years, the Dyer-Kelly students, ranging from ages 9-11, have been driven over by their teachers and met by high-school volunteers.

The students would be split into groups and led by their buddies from station to station. Santa usually made an appearance to give the kids presents and goodies such as hot chocolate, socks, gloves and athletic equipment.

The idea to incorporate Dyer-Kelly into the Holiday Gift Making Fair was suggested by teacher Jane Bauman. Alum Sami Carrasco and Patricia Jacobsen, dean of student life, planned the first event.

At the beginning of the year, Ferries informed Christy Procida, who has volunteered for the Dyer-Kelly event three years in a row and is the mother of eighth-grader Luca, that the Holiday Gift Making Fair would be moved.

“Upon being informed of the change to the SCDS Craft Fair, our utmost concern was how to continue the special relationship we have with the Dyer Kelly students,” Procida said.

Procida and Jacobsen brainstormed several ideas, such as offering a movie night, but with the help of Dyer-Kelly’s school counsellor, Paco Martinez, and other faculty members, they unanimously decided on holding a party at Country Club Lanes on Dec. 6, 10 a.m- 1:30 p.m. The PA covered the majority of the expenses, but a few parents also pitched in.

According to Procida, the event focused on keeping the students working hard in school and congratulating them on their  past efforts.

Seventeen kids, who were chosen by their teachers for their strong work initiative,  were driven to the bowling alley by their teachers for a day of bowling. The four SCDS high-school volunteers and one middle-school volunteer led groups of three or four in bowling. The volunteers were eighth-grader Luca, freshman Brenda Alegria and juniors Aidan Gallati, Jacob Sands and Ben Felix.

Procida noticed that there was much more bonding between the SCDS and Dyer Kelly students and lots of encouragement between teams during bowling.

The staff at Country Club Lanes went out of their way to assist in setting up and helping the kids get their bowling shoes, she said.

In addition to this change of venue, a new activity was created. An SCDS family, who would like to remain anonymous, gave a $20 Target gift card to each child. After bowling, the Dyer-Kelly teachers took the kids to Target to go shopping. This tradition will be continued next year.

The volunteers for the Dyer-Kelly kids are unsure if the students will be able to attend the Holiday Gift Making next year, but they are ready to fall back on this option again.

Procida looks forward to working on several new projects involving Dyer-Kelly students, such as establishing a student mentor program, creating a group of student tutors, hosting a soccer clinic in the summer and connecting the Breakthrough and the Dyer-Kelly students.

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