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Carnival Fun: BES event kicks off summer, raises funds

APRIL GARON / Braden Bairfield throws a ring at a bottle toss game.

APRIL GARON / Braden Bairfield throws a ring at a bottle toss game.

The squeals and laughs of the crowd of children relishing the end of the school year could be heard down Chippewa and Chickasaw streets and beyond Tuesday evening.

Children with faces painted in neon colors with hair to match celebrated the end of the school year by savoring treats won at a cake walk, plunging coaches and principals into a dunking pool and more at Brookhaven Elementary’s carnival event.

“The kids are having an awesome time,” PTA President Suzanne Britt said during the event. ” I love seeing all the face designs and crazy hair and then seeing them getting their pictures made. We had to school the kids on how to do the cakewalk—they’ve never done a cake walk. You don’t think about it that it’s not something that’s regularly done. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Shonteria Daniel and McKenzie Loomis ride the trackless train.

Shonteria Daniel and McKenzie Loomis ride the trackless train.

Britt led the planning and set-up of the annual family fun carnival that involved a plethora of old-school carnival games and activities, including face painting, colored hair spraying, a photo booth, trackless train rides, inflatable jumpers and slides, a cupcake walk, water toss, ball toss, fishbowl toss, bean bag toss, rain gutter races, ring toss, ducks in a pond and a dunking pool. The event is a fundraiser for the school as well as a celebration of the efforts of students to raise money for the charity Heifer International. The three teachers with the most money raised in their classrooms—Olivia Brister, Donna Stokes and Pat Smith— kissed a cow to the delight of their students.

Keeland Norah makes his way down the inflatable slide.

Keeland Norah makes his way down the inflatable slide.

“We read a different thing about Heifer International every single day on the intercom, so they would understand why we were raising the money,” Brookhaven Elementary Principal Shelley Riley said. “It’s not just for the fun part of kissing the cow but to help other people out. [The event] is a great opportunity to bring everybody together. Everyone came out together, it doesn’t matter who you are, if you went to school here or not— we are a neighborhood school and people are welcome to walk over.”

Mason Roberts plays a bean bag toss game.

Mason Roberts plays a bean bag toss game.

Rachel Powell, a resident of the neighborhood surrounding the school, said she enjoyed bringing her children to the event.

Brookhaven High School Principal David C. Martin emerges from the water of a dunking pool.

Brookhaven High School Principal David C. Martin emerges from the water of a dunking pool.

“It’s a fantastic event, and I’m glad they offer it, especially in the neighborhood, we live right down the street,” Powell said. “Instead of our evening stroll, we came to the fair. It’s a beautiful night, and it’s good to let the kids get out all their energy here and it’s a great cause.”

Teacher Kathleen Block poses at the photo booth.

Teacher Kathleen Block poses at the photo booth.

Britt, who is serving her last school year as PTA president, said the turnout and support for the carnival exceeded expectations.

“It’s been amazing— we thought last year was great, but this is just beyond anything we could have hoped for,” Britt said. “We are just so overwhelmed by the support of the community that we’ve had, with 600 plus cupcakes donated, 500 bottles of bottled water— not only will people give you what you ask for they will give you more than you asked for. We are overwhelmed with the generosity.”

Cordae Peyton gets his hair spray painted blue.

Cordae Peyton gets his hair spray painted blue.

Britt said she hopes and believes the school will continue hosting the event annually.

“My plan is to leave them with an outline that they can follow and this year and every year after this will be something to look forward to,” Britt said. “Hopefully we can leave a nice little legacy, and they can use this for other projects in the future.”