Fun events enliven winter at North County schools

This seems to be the winter without end, when the only colors outside are gray, white and brown. It's been filled with single-digit temperatures, snow that doesn't melt and wind that blows right through your clothes.

Realizing that their students could use some fun activities to battle the winter blahs, local school administrators have come up with unique ways to liven things up.

"Our boys and girls here take their education very seriously, but they are children and children need to have fun," said Bob Findley, principal at Fifth District Elementary School in Upperco. "I have a sign in my office that reads, 'Childhood is a journey, not a race.' I truly believe that. Everybody has to laugh."

To get kids giggling, the school offered a Wild West Day recently where kids dressed up as cowboys, cowgirls, American Indians and prairie folks. Findley dressed as a sheriff for the day.

Upcoming events include a chocolate day, where students get to dip fruit, marshmallows or graham crackers into a chocolate fountain.

Over at Jacksonville Elementary School, kids and teachers got to wear their pajamas to school. And just before Christmas break, students and teachers were allowed to wear Santa hats, reindeer antlers, or any other holiday hats.

"Since the students aren't allowed to wear hats in school, it was a popular day," said Principal Debbie Glinowiecki.

Our Lady of Grace School recently held its sixth annual Father/Daughter Snowball Dinner Dance.Parent Miranda Fox, the schools volunteer organizer, said 90 girls and 70 dads attended this year's event. The girls learned line dancing in school and showed off their moves when the disk jockey cranked up the tunes after dinner.

Parkton's Seventh District Elementary School students and teachers participated in Role Reversal day.For the fourth year, students came to school dressed like their teachers and the teachers looked like kids.

And while everybody experienced walking in someone else's shoes, the school collected new and slightly used shoes to donate to the nonprofit Shoes2Shoes.

Principal Sue Truesdell said Prettyboy Elementary School in Freeland recently hosted Wacky Tacky day during which kids and teacher dressed in wild colors and patterns that clashed. Coming up is a day for kids to dress like a character from a book.

Sparks Elementary School kids have several times during the year to dress up. The most recent was Twin Day, when kids found a friend and agreed to dress alike. Other upcoming spirit days give kids the chance to wear neon clothes and Hawaiian outfits.

One way to make kids happy is to let them outside for recess — even when there is snow on the ground. At St. James Academy in Monkton, students bring snow clothes to school in plastic trash bags. At recess, they use the bags to sled down the hill behind the school.

"Sledding at St. James Academy during recess is a longstanding and cherished tradition," said Karl Adler, head of the school. "We want children to be given the opportunities to be, well, kids, and enjoy the season."

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