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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Toss A Ball, Dunk A Teacher

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, May 22, 2005

North Adams – Students: practice those pitches!

A dunking booth featuring several middle school teachers –who are presumably very good sports- is among the featured attractions scheduled for a June 4 Silvio O. Conte Middle School Fun Fair at Windsor Lake.

“We will be dunking teachers and it’s three throws [of a ball, not a teacher] for a buck,” said teacher Melanie Rancourt, the school’s after-school events coordinator and adult advisor of the student-driven fun fair committee.

The fair is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.. Last year, the event raised about $800 to benefit the Thomas Peckham family, whose home was lost to a fire. This year, all proceeds will be donated to the family of a Conte school sixth-grade math teacher whose young son has been diagnosed with a serious illness. Admission to the fair is free, and the event will go on rain or shine, Rancourt said.

Fun Fair Fare

Teacher-dunking won’t be the only fair attraction; a “bouncy-bounce” will be on site and a professional DJ has been hired for the event, Rancourt said. Bingo geared to youth, a silent auction, and assorted games and activities round out the agenda.

“We will be having a huge food concession at the pavilion,” Rancourt said, and added the menu of for-sale victuals includes hamburgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, and popcorn. Soft drinks and water will also be available.

Tickets for games and food will be sold at the fair. Single tickets are priced at $.25 each; a 30-ticket strip will cost $5, Rancourt said. Ticket expenditures are set at reasonable rates, Rancourt said; for example, a hamburger will cost two tickets.

“We really wanted this to be a very family-friendly event,” she said.

During the early afternoon, many of the ticket-run booths are expected to cease operations so that a roster of free children’s games can begin. Among the free games scheduled are a sawdust treasure hunt, during which children will search a sawdust pile for wrapped candy packages, and similar games. The free games proved popular in 2004, Rancourt said.

“I was surprised,” she said. “We had some games for the middle-school age group last year and the seventh and eighth graders were right there, playing the games. It was really fun.”

Booths will re-open after the free games conclude. Students will oversee most of the games and activities and many parents have offered to help out as well, Rancourt said.

Can-Do Conte Kids

The fair committee student membership has handled nearly every aspect of the event, Rancourt said.

“The kids love it,” she said. “We’ve been working on the planning since March, and we raised money for things like renting the bouncy-bounce and the dunking booth through the year by having dances and bake sales. These kids come in week after week and they are so excited about doing things.”

The committee members are honing art and design skills, computer, organizational, and promotional abilities, and mastering teamwork concepts, Rancourt said. The event puts the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students in the public eye, she added.

“These kids are working very hard to show a positive image of Conte,” she said. “We want parents and the community to know that we do wonderful things at this school. This is great for the kids because they feel a sense of togetherness and rallying around someone at the school. They feel a personal connection, and they are eager to show the good that is in Conte school.”

Community Asked to Bring It On

Donations of silent auction items are still being accepted. The current list includes a Williams Inn dinner-for-two gift certificate, a large pizza from Village Pizza, a $15 gift certificate from both Gringos and the Bounti-Fare restaurants, coupons for pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, one t-shirt acknowledging the Red Sox World Series and the New England Patriots Super Bowl wins from All Sorts of Sports, and a sweets-filled gift basket from the Persnickety store. Area artisans and vendors are welcome to rent space at the fair, and are being recruited for the event, Rancourt said.

“We’d love to have folks come and set up for the day,” she said.

Those interested in donating silent auction items, setting up a booth, or seeking additional information about the fair may call Rancourt at the school office at 413-662-3200 and leave a message or by calling her directly at 413-662-3024 between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri..

Susan Bush may be reached at 802-823-9367 or by e-mail at suebush123@adelphia.net.
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