As a heat wave struck Massachusetts the week of June 9, the Page Hilltop community in Ayer found a way to have fun and keep their mind off of the sweltering temperatures. The kindergarten through fifth-graders got to leave their classrooms and cross the parking lot to the Ayer High School football field for two carnival-themed field days and cookouts. Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders participated on Wednesday, June11 and kindergarten, first- and second-grades cooled down on Thursday, June 12.
The carnival was organized by Page Hilltop principal Rob Ackerman and parent-volunteer coordinator Lisa Arrigo. "These two days were really meant to be fun for the kids. This is my way of thanking the students for a great year," Ackerman said. Ackerman also thanked the volunteers who were also involved in the planning process for the carnival Sarah Gibbons, Lisa Arrigo, Katie Scheve, Dave Cibor, Tracy Stiles and Jessica Rakip.
Each class at the school rotated around the football field to stations manned by parents. Some of the activities included a cupcake walk, a dunk tank (where they got to dunk their principal), a pie throw, tug of war, a water balloon toss, and face painting. "What a great day this was," said third-grade teacher Cathy Guthrie. "It was wonderful to see the kids working together outside of the classroom in an active learning situation that enabled them to use their mind and body."
Throughout the two days all the students had ear-to-ear smiles, and from all appearances parent volunteers had just as much fun. Heather Hasz, mother of fourth-grader Abbey, said, "Being a full-time working parent, I don’t often get a chance to volunteer during the weekdays at school and this was just a great opportunity for a day from the office and time with my daughter and her class." Paula Gravelle, mother of three and board member of the Ayer Education Foundation, reported that the bouncy house and the face painting were a big hit during the carnival days. "The kids have worked so hard all year, so it was great to see them just being kids and having fun!" Gravelle said.
Some parents were seen revisiting their own childhood experiences during field day. Dave Cibor, a parent at Page Hilltop, was seen racing against kids in a potato sack race and Ayer School Committee member Pat Kelly was spotted giving some teams a little bit of an edge in the tug of war contests. Patti Cibor, Vice President of the Page Hilltop PTA said, "I volunteered for two reasons. To share time with my children and to relive my childhood field day memories through my children."