West Elementary’s new principal Michelle Lewis and her staff sure know how to plan a party, especially a Back-to-School Bash. The school’s back parking lot was turned into an immense playground for the students, their families and guests. A host of carnival-type games lined the sidewalk, with children picking up ducks, playing ring toss, fishing for prizes and trying their best to dunk a local personality in the dunking booth Thursday night.
A petting zoo featuring goats, a cow, chickens, ducks and red golden pheasants was a hit with everyone. The pheasants were especially popular, where children and adults alike found out how to tell the male from the female. The male is covered in bright colors and has extra plumage.
City of McMinnville Fire Department staff manned their Tower 1 fire truck and sprayed cool water down on the children. It was the perfect way to cool off from the hot August afternoon.
“We usually have a festival in the fall,” said Lewis. “This year we decided to have it at the first of the year so the children could be outside and have some fun. It’s also a good way to bring the community and families together.”
Even though this year is Lewis’ first year as principal, she has many years of experience in the education field, having taught in the classroom at various schools.
“I have lots of goals for West, but perhaps the biggest is to raise the test scores and increase morale for the school,” said Lewis. “I want our children and parents to realize learning is fun.”
Christy Rutledge braved the heat and brought her three children, Shanyah, Jahien and Jtareous, to the bash. Shanyah is a first-grade student in Linda Daniels’ class and the young student enjoys going to school.
“I love school, it’s fun, and I like reading and doing homework,” said Shanyah.
Another fun event that gave children the opportunity to exert some of their extra energy, was the car bash. A car, stripped down of glass and any other dangerous parts, was brought in for the students to take a sledge hammer to, or a can of spray paint. Third-grader Brody Cantrell and fourth-grade student Nicolas Hayes both enjoyed the experience of hitting the car and painting it.
For two young strapping boys, hitting a car with a hammer and spray painting their own design was a perfect way to get the school year started.