Fun Events Cap Off the School Year

PTO/PTA Activities Bring School Communities Together
Posted on 05/19/2020
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fun events collageLakota schools are still relying on the support of their parent-teacher organizations during remote learning to help bring their school communities together.

Earlier this month, VanGorden Elementary’s PTA presented ‘Drop the Mic’ to replace the annual Talent Show that had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.

“We knew we wanted to do something and saw an opportunity to do MORE than just a traditional talent show,” said VanGorden parent Vanessa Weiss. “This was a chance for students to think outside the box and come up with something creative without being restricted to a stage production.” Students and family members were invited to send in a video showcasing a talent – and the PTA received over 50 submissions from drummers, gymnasts, pianists, dancers, singers and artists and more. Click here to see the Drop the Mic video compilation.

The PTA was able to purchase $550 worth of gift cards from local businesses with extra funds remaining due to cancelled end of year events/field trips. Through the gift card purchases, the PTA was able to pay- it-forward to businesses that support the schools all year long. “Drop the Mic provided some sort of normalcy,” said Weiss. “We were able to do something together, safely in the comfort of our own homes, and it was a win for the whole community.”

At Union Elementary, the annual Celebration of the Arts (COTA) event also took on a new look this year. Instead of artwork hanging in the hallways and performances taking place on the stage, COTA went virtual with the help of the school’s PTSO.

“I think it gave students an outlet for creativity while stuck at home,” said Union parent Jen Feldmeyer. “Students and families look forward to COTA every year, so sharing this virtually has allowed everyone to see the very talented group of students we have here at Union.”

To view the performances, artwork, and cake designs, visit, enter code unioncota2020 and password UnionHawks.

In the Spring, Endeavor families look forward to the school’s Think Fest, an annual mystery STEAM event for students. The night of Think Fest, teams are presented with a bag of supplies and a science-based challenge to complete within 90 minutes. In the past, students have had to build roller coasters for marbles, pulley systems to transport cherry tomatoes and a car that would keep a hardboiled egg safe in a crash. 

When Principal Theresa Brock asked the PTO if a virtual Think Fest was possible, its members took on the challenge. “We needed something kids could do either individually or with their families and it had to be something that wouldn't require items that weren't already in their homes,” said Endeavor parent Maggie Pasternak. “We decided on a Rube Goldberg machine challenge. We tried to keep it simple by asking students to create a chain action of at least 5 events, record it and send us the video.”

Over at Liberty Junior School, the PTO helped sponsor a recent art contest. Click here to see the submissions, including the winning piece created by Emma Langevin.

“We are always looking for fun contests for the kids to get involved in that don’t necessarily fit the norm,” said Liberty Junior teacher Dave Schreier. “We want to give all kids a way to get recognized, so we’ve held fishing tournaments, go cart racing, poetry contests, paintball and more. We are so grateful for our PTO for supporting our crazy ideas to keep our kids involved!”