Elementary school welcomes back students, families

by Dan Holland

The second annual “Welcome Back Party” for staff, students and parents of Brecksville-Broadview Heights Elementary School was held Aug. 25 in the school’s rear parking lot.

Attended by more than 1,000 participants, the event included a foam party, DJ, games, seven food trucks, face painting and a raffle with more than 70 donated prizes.

“Our Welcome-Back Party is an opportunity for families and students to enjoy a fun and relaxing evening celebrating the return to school,” said Parent School Organization Co-President Vanessa Caslow. “This year we have a great team of parents volunteering their time to plan a variety of social, educational and enrichment initiatives, and this party is the kick-off to it all. The welcome back party has been a long tradition at all three elementary schools before the consolidation and we are happy to keep the tradition going here at the new BBH Elementary School. It’s a goodbye to summer and sets the tone for a positive outlook on the school year ahead.”

Last year’s Welcome Back Party – the first held at the newly consolidated elementary school – was followed by the “No Fuss Fundraiser,” which netted more than $28,000 for the PSO, along with $2,000 from the Welcome-Back Party raffle, according to Lisa Galek, fundraising committee co-chair. Funds go toward programming for the year, classroom grants, cultural arts events, positive behavior rewards, early literacy materials, school and community events, STEM programming, classroom furniture and accessories and more, she explained.

“This year, the raffle is twice as big, so we’re hoping to raise more money with the raffle along with the No Fuss Fundraiser,” said Galek. “The more money we raise, the more we can do for our teachers, staff and students. We have a very generous community that really loves helping our students through their generosity.”

Raffle prizes include 40 donated “Experiences” prizes from teachers and staff which, among other things, includes “lunch with a teacher,” “guest reader for a kindergarten class,” “guest announcer for the morning announcements” and “cookie baking with the food services staff.”

Brittany and Evan Miller, who recently relocated to Brecksville, said they brought their children, Cade and Maylen, to see the school grounds, experience the event and meet other families and staff.

Kyle and Caitlin Bias, of Broadview Heights, said their sons Benjamin and Roy were most looking forward to the food trucks and face painting.

“People like the atmosphere, the playground, the food trucks, the foam party and the raffle,” said Galek. “A lot of parents told me they were making special time for this event; just to be able to get together with other families on a Friday night and have some fun.” ∞

Jason and Kara Samblanet of Brecksville (right) along with their children Amelia, Theo and Louie, sample the food offerings along with Kevin and Lauren Brown of Brecksville (left) and their son Nolan.

Photo above (main): Students at Brecksville-Broadview Heights Elementary School celebrated their return to the classroom with a giant foam party Aug. 25. Photos by D. Holland.