From the Centre Daily Times, May 2, 2017
Photo, Greg Feinberg
Parents of State College Friends School students work together to fix the yellow food stand in time for this weekend’s Fun Fair festivities. The stand was blown apart early Tuesday morning.When Jillian Sherman, of Bellefonte, saw how severely Monday’s storm had battered her school, she asked to open up her piggy bank.
The kindergartner’s mom, Martha, put her heart — and her hands — where her daughter’s money was, and she wasn’t alone.
The State College Friends School is having its annual Fun Fair this weekend, and for 15 years, one visible signal of that has been the long, bright yellow wooden food booth. The booth was brought out as preparations were being made, but the high winds Monday pummeled it.
“It was crumbled to the ground at 6:45 this morning,” said Lori Pacchioli, the school’s director of advancement. “When the first children arrived at 7:45, that’s what they saw.”
The kids were upset. Did this mean the Fun Fair was canceled? What would happen to the booth?
“I said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out,’ ” Pacchioli said.
The solution was apparently teamwork.
After Jillian Sherman saw pictures of the damage and asked to pitch in her pennies, Martha Sherman told her husband about the booth. Other parents got involved. They came together with hammers and nails and fixed the 15-yearold booth that was originally built by parents, too.
“We’re a community here. We’re a family. When any part of it needs help, we pull together,” Martha Sherman said. “We wanted to show the kids about stewardship in action.”
And they did, finishing up just in time for the kindergarten and first grade’s school play. Appropriately, it was the “Little Red Hen,” a story all about everyone working together for the common good.
It wasn’t the only example. One family at the school lost power at the restaurant. Someone loaned them a generator. Other parents made soup for those doing the repairs.
“This is what community does,” Pacchioli said.
Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce
It began with a samosa, stuffed with a spicy mixture of potatoes and peas and served up piping hot. The first State College Friends School Fun Fair -- held in 1981 following the school’s opening in 1980 -- offered this tasty treat, along with paneers, masalas and daals, all spooned onto fragrant mounds of basmati rice. It was a simple affair -- home-cooked Indian food, games for kids and a garage sale. The event raised a few thousand dollars to be used by the school for scholarships.
That first year, the school was home to only ten students, each with a family that worked tirelessly to ensure the fair’s success. Today, the school serves about 100 families, and these folks are as busy as ever preparing for the Fun Fair’s 36th installment, which will be held on Saturday, May 6th, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the State College Friends School (1900 University Drive, State College). The event, which welcomes everyone from the community, will include live entertainment, food, games, prizes and more.
Thinking back to 1981, Mary Ziegler, who retired as the assistant director of the school in 2015, said the school started Fun Fair in an effort to raise money for student tuition assistance.
“We were surprised and extremely pleased with how many people attended the first fair and how much money we earned for the school,” she said, noting that the fair back then was held where the school was held -- the Friends Meeting House, which is located at 611 E. Prospect Avenue in State College.
Ziegler remembers inviting all the Friends School families over to her house afterward to celebrate the event’s success. The “after-fair party” at her house became a tradition.
“We would stay up until two o’clock in the morning singing, talking and laughing,” she said. “The children would all be asleep on the living room floor. It was wonderful.”
Ziegler recalls several moments throughout the Fun Fair’s history, however, that were not so great. For example, there were always weather-related worries.
“For several years, we had a parent involved with the school who was a meteorologist at AccuWeather,” said Ziegler. “We relied on him to give us very accurate weather predictions for fair day.”
One year, Ziegler remembers waking up on fair day to heavy rain. She called the meteorologist parent, and he assured her the rain would stop by the fair’s opening time -- ten o’clock.
“We were all soaked as we were setting up for the fair,” she said, “and the volunteers kept asking me if we were really going to go through with it. But I had confidence in our meteorologist parent, and he turned out to be right. The sun came out just in time, and it was a beautiful day.”
Then there was the year when a ferret in the petting zoo bit a child. A parent who was a physician attended to the child, who was unhurt. There was also a year when a petting zoo chicken got loose, and the children chased the bird all over the school’s playground before cornering it and capturing under a bush near the parking lot.
“The ferret was someone’s pet; we don’t do those anymore,” said Ziegler. “Fun Fair is always a little stressful because there are so many factors we can’t control,” said Ziegler. “But it’s always worth it. Everyone has fun and we earn valuable income to help students attend school.”
Ziegler notes that although the purpose of the Fun Fair was, and still is, to earn money for student financial aid, the event always has aimed to provide an affordable source of entertainment for the community. And while it has changed over time -- for example, there was a time when a plant sale and book sale were part of the event, and, of course, there was that fabulous ethnic food, which included at various times Indian, Chinese, Mexican, and Eastern European foods -- one thing remains: the devotion of the school’s families to making the fair a success.
This year, parent volunteers will serve up high-quality hot dogs courtesy of Nature’s Pantry, sausages from Fetterolf Family Farm, homemade hummus and veggie pita pockets, quinoa black bean salad, massaged kale salad and fresh fruit cups. They also will provide live music, pony rides, a bubble station, an egg drop competition and face painting, among other things -- enough entertainment to last for hours.
From ten families to 100, the State College Friends School has grown by leaps and bounds over the years, and the school’s annual Fun Fair has grown with it. And even though Ziegler no longer hosts “after-fair” parties at her home, the happy feelings acquired by all fairgoers -- from Friends School families to the greater State College community -- persist as a warm glow in their hearts, until the next year’s fun begins.
Inter generational Earth Day Celebration
Love your Mother (Earth), and share with one another at this Earth Day celebration co-hosted by State College Friends School and Foxdale Village. This progressive two-hour inter-generational activity is suitable for all ages.
The program begins at 10:00 with a welcome circle dance, "hand-in-hand."
Young children enjoy story time with Tr. Lisa, while older children and adults participate in an interactive poetry/story telling guided exercise.
All re-group for mural painting or poster-making and postcard writing to our state and federal representatives to encourage earth-friendly action.
Participants close with singing, dancing, and sun salutations before visiting a make-your-own (nut free) trail mix for the road. Weather permitting, guests are welcome to bring a blanket and family picnic lunch to enjoy from 1:00 to 2:00 Please no pets.
. . . the boy Peter (the strings) and his friend the bird (flute) wander out into the garden, where they encounter a duck (oboe) and a cat (clarinet). Peter’s grandfather (bassoon) warns Peter of a dangerous wolf that might attack if he strays outside the garden gates. But Peter does not heed this advice, and sure enough, the wolf (horns) appears. A group of hunters (timpani) come to the rescue, but they arrive to find that Peter and the bird have already outsmarted the beast—although not before . . .
You'll have to research what happened next: http://www.centreorchestra.org/education/
The Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, conducted by Dr. Douglas Meyer, played and narrated the the conclusion of Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf for our students. Teachers, staff, and students of State College Friends School are grateful for the performance by the orchestra members. We are also grateful to the sponsors of this education outreach program:
Sheetz, The State College Kiwanis, Gordon Wells, and Anne and Lynn Hutcheson.
State College Friends School K-8 has been named "Best Private/Charter School" in State College. We are an independent school built on the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship. All faith beliefs are welcome.
If you are yearning for connection and wholeness, I have good news. Phillip Shepherd [www.phillipshepherd.com] will be offering a two-day Workshop on “The Embodied Present Process” right here in State College on the weekend of March 25-26th (preceded by an evening talk on March 24th). Phillip is a phenomenal teacher and I recommend this workshop with unbridled enthusiasm!
p.s. Heads up: This workshop is limited to 18 participants and will, very likely, fill quickly.
State College Friends School receives donation of $10,000 from BB&T
State College Friends School recently received a donation of $10,000 from BB&T Bank. BB&T made the contribution through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. "BB&T has always been a generous, community-minded partner in helping to serve school-age children," said head of school Dan Hendey, but the amount of this gift came as a huge surprise." "Our BB&T friends Mike and Tara delivered the check during a surprise drop-in at our holiday gathering," Hendey added, sharing that "the standing-room-only crowd of parents and grandparents who had come to sing and enjoy cookies and punch were already in place for the standing ovation."
“BB&T is committed to helping the communities we serve in impactful ways, such as supporting solid education for our neighbors,” said BB&T Northern Pennsylvania Regional President David Kennedy. “BB&T is proud to join organizations in helping to build stronger communities.”
"While not all students understood the idea of EITC, they surely understood the impact of BB&T's unexpected gift when they saw me almost faint," laughed Lori Pacchioli, director of advancement for Friends School. Pacchioli explained that the contribution made to the State College Friends School Scholarship Fund allows for broader diversity in the school community. As is the case with most independent schools, Pacchioli added, tuition alone does not cover the true cost of a high-quality educational experience. The school counts on the generosity of alumni, grandparents, and community-minded individuals and organizations to bridge the gap, allowing the school to offer flexible income-based tuition. Pacchioli said the contribution just before the winter Christmas and Hanukkah break was "sweeter than all the cookies combined." The children cheered and giggled at that.
The EITC program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, provides tax credits to eligible companies that do business in the state when they contribute to scholarship organizations, educational improvement organizations and/or pre-kindergarten scholarship organizations. The tax credits may be applied against the tax liability of a company for the year when the donation was made.
While it seems almost ridiculous to be thinking of summer camps at the end of January, we know that we've got to stay one step ahead of organized moms and dads who are thinking about the best summer activities for their children. Come see our summer camp staff at the Summer Youth Fair, February 18th, from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at Mt. Nittany Middle School. We'll have program information there and easy online registration.
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