On Saturday, June 16, 2018, more than 300 Henderson-Hopkins students, families, staff, and community members poured onto the school’s recreation field to celebrate the end of another successful school year.
Packed with activities, including field-day games, sack races, student performances, arts and crafts, and the super-popular water-balloon toss—Henderson-Hopkins Family Fun Day went off without a hitch.
The event, the first of its kind at the school, was carefully planned and executed by school’s PTA as a special opportunity for the community to come together, celebrate the start of summer break, and unite in support of the many triumphs that have taken place at Henderson-Hopkins over the past academic year.
“The PTA had been discussing a big family/school/community celebration for months,” recounted Julie Brunelle, parent and Henderson Hopkins PTA secretary. “We set aside fundraiser money and received many generous donations to make Saturday’s event a reality. It filled my heart with joy to thank our Henderson-Hopkins staff and teachers, students and families, and community groups for being there to build our community together.”
Parents at Family Fun Day expressed appreciation for the variety of activities that took place throughout the day, making the event fun for all students. “There was an abundance of activities present for my daughter, who loves arts and crafts,” said community member Devon Nwaba. “She made a bracelet, designed a face mask, and created a bag out of a T-shirt. As an avid reader, she was thrilled to select free books to add to her library, as well.”
Parents also hailed the event’s success in convening so many members of the community. “The goal was to pull community, family, and school together and without a doubt that was achieved,” said PTA member Christine Alestock.
Community partners acknowledged the opportunity for building and strengthening connections. “Through our Theater Club, we hope to build lasting partnerships with students, parents, teachers and staff administration,” said Denise Gantt, director of education at Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric. “We can’t wait to put on two theatrical presentations with [Henderson-Hopkins’] fantastic students!”
While adults were connecting with fellow parents, school staff, and community members, students were having a blast with wide-ranging activities on the field and in the gym. “It was a great time for us to have fun with our families,” said seventh-grader Trinia. Jeremiah, a first-grader, added, “I liked it because we played football, volleyball, and had a cookout with hotdogs.” Students even had the chance to play basketball with former NBA player and current collegiate basketball coach Keith Booth, who is an active Henderson-Hopkins supporter and community member.
Baltimore City Councilwoman Shannon Sneed, also in attendance, summed up the energy of the day: “It was so good to see the gates open and children and parents pouring in from all over the neighborhood to play games on the field, paint, and find out information about different programs to keep our children engaged while learning at the same time. They can change anything.”
With free food, fun games, engaging learning opportunities—and a plentiful supply of water balloons—the inaugural Henderson-Hopkins Family Fun Day made a big splash with staff, students, families and community members. “It is nothing but success for our community when like minds and hearts come together as one,” said PTA President Tameka Suber, who led the planning for the event. “In the end, I was so happy because we received payment in full for all of our long hours and hard work by watching all of the big smiles on everyone’s face at the event. It was truly a wonderful day!”
Photos courtesy Henderson-Hopkins PTA