Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My First Experience at the Chelsea Fair

While this blog will mainly deal with the ins-and-outs of Beach Middle School, I would be remiss if I didn't put down thoughts through my lens as a newcomer to the district. Last night was my first experience at the Chelsea Fair, and it lived up to the hype!

Upon entering the gates, accompanied by Mr. Angel, I was immediately swept up in the communal feel. Everyone knew Mr. Angel, and I was introduced to students - both current and former - parents, community supporters, and residents from all over Washtenaw county. The friendliness was unsurprising, but the warmth of those that I met was staggering.

The Chelsea School District administrators hosted the annual kiddie games at the grandstands, right after the BMS 8th grade marching band came through.

The kiddie games were well attended by children from ages 2-12. The hunt for quarters in the sawdust was fantastic and competitive! 

The three-legged race, shockingly, produced no tears, only smiles! The potato sack race was the big-hitter, however, needing 6 heats in order to give everyone a shot! Little metaphors exist in these races when we watch our children work with their peers to accomplish a goal; when we watch them stumble and fall, yet rise and continue; when we see our children cross the finish line and show the toothy grins of accomplishment. 

While seeing the expressions of joy and excitement on the faces of the youngsters at the fair was wonderful, what was equally as enjoyable was watching excellent educators in their natural element; providing opportunities for kids to have fun, learn, and grow. Julie Helber, Marcus Kaemming, Teresa Zigman, Beth Starkey, Lisa Nickel, Scott Wooster, Mike Kapolka, Jason Morris, Andrew Neidlinger, Nick Angel, Stacy Battaglia, Luman Strong, and Denis Taylor are all exemplars in the Chelsea School District of the values that are clearly held dear. It was a marvel to see them do what they do best.

Finally, Mr. Angel and I traveled across the fair grounds to the dunk tank - another hallmark to the Chelsea Fair experience. Mr. Angel was first, and whipped the crowd into a frenzy! Money was raised in partnership with Chelsea Lions Club, and the urge to dunk Mr. Angel created a peak in fundraising! Even his daughter, Brooklyn, got in on the fun!

When my turn came to sit on the platform, it came to me that in many ways this was an initiation, a baptism, in a sense. This was a first step in the immersion into the Chelsea Community. What started out as fear of hurting my backside on the bottom of the tank turned into excitement and eagerness to be submerged in the culture and energy of district. 

The Chelsea Fair was an experience that I will not soon forget, nor can I wait until my next visit to the dunk tank!