GREENVILLE — Involved parents make for successful students, a fact not lost on administrators and teachers at Greenville Middle School. Throughout the year, the school hosts numerous events designed to bring parents through the front doors and into the lives lived daily by their children.
Thursday’s Family Activity Night at the school has over the past three years proved to be a favorite with parents and students alike. According to school counselor Wendy Baty, the event typically brings in up to 100 parents.
“We like to see an increase each year,” Baty said. “We’re constantly looking at ways to get more parents to come into our building.”
Baty added the school already has an unusually high level of parental involvement.
Family Fun Night’s purpose is two-fold, however; the event this year also is intended to introduce students and parents to ideas for maintaining the skills they have learned throughout the school year during summer vacation.
“We have had the same theme every year, which is supporting our students,” Baty said. “We try to do this at the end of the year to give parents extra ideas for activities they can do with their kids over the supper to keep their skills up. We cover math, reading and writing. And this is the second year we’ve had our Trashion Show.”
The Trashion Show, overseen by art teacher September Buys, features students modeling clothing they have created themselves from trash or recyclable items.
“They can use anything that’s considered trash,” Buys said. “Anything that would ordinarily be thrown out after use, with the exception of ‘adult’ items like beer cans and cigarette packages.
“They come up with very unique things. This is an awesome project; the kids are creating something new out of an existing idea. This is really good for the kids, to build stuff, to make stuff. We need to do more of that in our curriculum.”
The project is designed to help students tap into their creativity while at the same time reinforcing the concepts of conservation, recycling and the need for good stewardship over the planets’ natural resources.
In addition to the Trashion Show, students and parents also took part in activities designed to inspire advancement in writing, reading, math and history.
The history presentation focused on American history from the early, Colonial days through 1900.
The school’s Media Center played host to the staff of the Flat River Library, who were in attendance to sign kids up for the summer reading programs and issue library cards. The demonstrations centered on the use of mobile reading devices, such as the Nook and Kindle eReaders.
Parents who took the time to fill out a form evaluating the presentation were automatically entered in a raffle to win a Nook or Kindle eReader.
Also on hand were representatives from the Michigan College Access Network, who spoke to kids and parents about options for college-bound students.
“This is especially important for some of our low-income kids,” Baty said. “It show them that there is help available for kids who think they may not have had a chance at (college).”
Raffles for “spirit items” were held every 15 minutes throughout the evening.
Based on the turnout for this year’s event, odds are Family Activity Night will be an annual staple at Greenville Middle School for years to come.