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Murray Journal

Fall Festival intertwines art and fun at Grant Elementary fundraiser

Nov 27, 2019 08:11AM ● By Julie Slama

Students and families passed through a dragon to reach carnival game and activities at Grant Elementary’s Fall Festival. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Grant Elementary first-grader Graham Roseborough brought his mom, Whitney, and 3-year-old brother Owen to his school’s fall festival.

Together, they were checking out all the activities involved in the festival that was serving as the school fundraiser.

“We have a punch card so we can do everything – the spooky alley, silent auction, crafts, cake walk,” Roseborough said as she watched her boys play carnival games. “We ate pizza and the band sounds good. The decorations, music, art – everything looks fantastic.”

Grant Elementary’s fall festival fundraiser and art show featured the local live band, Gladstone; a silent auction featuring items made or donated by not only students and their families, but also local businesses; a pizza dinner; carnival games; a photo booth; and numerous activities, including the spook alley.

First-grader Dillon Gray and his mother were using their $15 punch card “to help the school,” she said. “He’s having a blast.”

Dillon said his favorite activity thus far was checking out the darkened classroom featuring three spooky figures.

“I like the spook alley,” he said. “My favorite was Frankenstein, but he wasn’t that scary.”

Frankenstein aka Jacob Yetter said that in studying about Frankenstein, he learned that the monster really wasn’t meant to be scary.

“I like getting into the character role,” said Yetter, who is a Murray High junior and member of the theatre department’s improvisation traveling team. “My friend’s mom asked me to help out and it’s been fun.”

PTA volunteer Mikey Brooks Stephenson said that the parent group organized the event, with a goal of $8,000 in mind.

“The PTA has put a lot of effort into this event, hoping to bring in some much-needed funds into the school to cover the costs of PTA-sponsored activities and programs like our literacy night, science and technology fair, Reflections contest, art literacy and more,” he said.

Funds also help pay for 10 reading aides, who help with spelling, phonics, decoding, phonemic awareness and other reading and literacy techniques, fifth-grade teacher Jeanne Simpson said.

“The reading aides make a huge difference,” she said. “We’re able to break students in groups to target their learning.”

While the students were dashing amongst the spook alley and all the games, they also led their parents into their classrooms, where the adults admired the students’ artwork.

“The crowning jewel of this event is the artwork created by the students here at Grant,” Stephenson said. 

Simpson’s class displayed two styles of art – string art pumpkins and fall aspen paintings. Attached to the artwork was the opportunity to purchase the student’s work.

“All proceeds from this event will go directly back to these budding artists to bring even more great fun to their school,” Stephenson said.

Simpson said the artwork fit the theme of autumn to go along with the fall festival.

“I love art. Each classroom did different art projects, all tying into fall or fall-related activities. The parents are stopping in each classroom and they enjoy it. The kids like doing it. It’s relaxing and gives them a chance to shine,” she said, adding that they spend about 30 minutes of classroom time on the projects.

Several of the aspen tree paintings were amongst the baskets of food, Halloween items, books, wreaths and other items which families were bidding on at the silent auction in the library.

Michelle McSwain, who brought her fourth-grader Cruz Gardner, planned to take a break from volunteering with the crafts to look over the silent auction. 

Cruz was in the classroom where his teacher, Ginger Shaw, also known in the community as “The Origami Lady,” was showing students how to fold bright colored pieces of paper, tying in math terminology.

“Learning origami and math are my favorites, but I like learning French, too,” Cruz said, explaining that Shaw teaches the class some French vocabulary throughout the school year.

Stephenson said that many people contributed and volunteered for the event.

“Some, myself included, have spent hours and hours trying to make this event a success just to bring more funds and happiness to the children at our school,” he said. “We do it because we love them and love to see them excel in all aspects of their time while at our school.”