For the second year in a row, Esten Elementary School Principal Marilyn Smith brought Esten staff, students, and their families together for a neighborhood cookout at Spring Gate properties in Rockland. The cookout, held on September 21, once again served as a way to bring school staff together with the children who attend Esten Elementary School.
After last year’s cookout was such a hit, Smith was eager to continue the tradition that she initiated after reading the book, “Kids Deserve It.” The book suggests innovative approaches for teachers to connect with students in their neighborhoods. “Our first picnic was an enormous success because it brought many of the concepts I read about to life, creating a fun, low-stress environment for students and staff to get to know one another,” Smith said.
The weather cooperated at this year’s cookout as the entire Esten staff gathered on one of the basketball courts at Spring Gate on a bright sunny afternoon. Sporting matching t-shirts, staff interacted with the students while head custodian, Billy McGarry served up enough hot dogs for everyone. The Esten PAC provided other snacks and treats for the children and their families.
Books, collected by District Title One Director Karen M MacKinnon were also available for children to take and fill the 50 colorful backpacks provided for them by the company, Renewal by Andersen. The donation was made possible by Esten kindergarten teacher Lisa Scanlon, whose husband works for the company.
Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Alan Cron also stopped by. Congratulating Smith and the Esten staff, he said, “I am so proud to be a part of a school community that consistently goes above and beyond to foster the kinds of relationships that lead to successful students. What a fun and inspiring afternoon.”
Smith summed up the event and its intent. “I wish we could do this in every neighborhood in town. The children love to have their teachers come to their turf. They love to show us their things: everything from their bikes, and little brothers and sisters, to the way they shoot baskets!”