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Back to Bobby Ray
Carnival celebrates return to school
Braylon Kloosterman prepares for a perfect throw through the hoop.

Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary knows how to get children excited about returning to school – have a Back-to-School Carnival. 
With happy music piped through the speakers, children and parents lined up for admittance on the football field. Staff had set up numerous carnival games, complete with a bounce house for the children’s enjoyment. A mini petting zoo was a hit, as well as a cake walk, face painting and hula hooping. Various food booths were also available, adding to the carnival atmosphere.
Pre-K assistant Jane Jones did her part to make the children happy, by bringing her miniature horses for the petting zoo.   
“I brought Blackberry, a 5-year-old mare, and her baby, Popcorn, who is almost 5 months old,” said Jones. “We know how much children and adults alike enjoy the horses, and they can also pet them.”
Elizabeth Baker brought her beagle dog, two chickens and a rabbit for the children to view and touch.
“Children just love animals,” said principal Monti Hillis. “So many of our children having been raised in town don’t get to be around them very much.”
Third-grade teachers Lakeisha Tobitt and Rachel Pepper were co-chairs for the event, with them organizing the day. It was planned as a good behavior, positive reinforcement activity, with children earning tickets in their classroom by following rules. Bobby Ray staff enforce three rules – be respectful, be responsible and be safe.
Their admittance was a star ticket earned, with them encouraged to stop at each booth and get it checked off. They were then able to earn other prizes donated by local businesses and various food items.
One of the more popular stations was the Pie in the Face stop, which was manned by teachers and staff. Students purchased tickets to get the opportunity to smash a whipped cream pie in their face. Special guest, director of schools Bobby Cox, was one of the most sought after.
According to Hillis, approximately $1,400 was earned at the event, with all of it going back to the school to purchase prizes and rewards for good behavior throughout the year.
“We feel this type of activity teaches our children to follow positive rules, and they are then rewarded for doing a good job,” said Hillis. “They also get to see their teachers having fun in a family atmosphere. We had a great time.”