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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Conte Fun Fair Makes the Grade

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Saturday, June 04, 2005

Children frolicked on a "bouncy-bounce" during the Silvio O. Conte Middle School Fun Fair.
View Slide Show
North Adams – Silvio O. Conte Middle School teacher Melanie Rancourt couldn’t disguise her delight.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better day,” said Rancourt, who is also the school’s after-school events co-ordinator. “This is a success.”

“This” was the Conte Middle School Fun Fair held at Windsor Lake. This year’s event donated all proceeds to the family of sixth-grade Science teacher John Jacobbe, whose son Caleb, 7, was recently diagnosed with a serious illness.

The fair opened at 10 a.m. Saturday morning. By 10:30, a multitude of families were basking in the summer-like heat, listening to rockin’ tunes and enjoying the many games operated by student members of the after-school events committee.


Dean of Students Marie Kelley-Whitney was the first school official to face a dunking booth.
As promised, middle school teachers and administrators took turns on the coolest “hot seat” at the fair: a dunking booth plank. Conte Dean of Students Marie Kelley-Whitney was the first to be plunged repeatedly into a barrel of chilly water, as crowds of students and others tossed balls at a target. Kelley-Whitney demonstrated a good-natured spirit as she teased and taunted game participants to send her downward.

“Who was that?” she called out after a youthful pitcher tossed a well-aimed ball and sent her tumbling into the water.

“That was my sister!” replied a clearly proud young girl standing on the sidelines.

A SpongeBob Squarepants “bouncy-bounce” proved a crowd-pleaser, as did booths that offered face-painting, pine cone bird-feeder constructing, and youth-focused Bingo games. Children stood in line to toss darts at balloons, pick a prize from plastic eggs, and play a lollipop game. The food concession remained busy as hungry participants bought hamburgers, hot dogs, and spool after spool of cotton candy.

“I like this, I think it’s fun,” said Tisha Babcock, a 14-year-old seventh-grade Conte student. “It’s warm out, there’s music and it’s for a good cause.”

Babcock said she was among those who successfully dunked Kelley-Whitney.

“I think she’s being a really good sport,” Tisha said.

Nicole Boucher,13, operated a youth-focused Bingo game.


Conte student Matt Stimpson, 13, said he enjoyed the fair as well.

“It’s fun and it’s something to do,” he said. “If I wasn’t here, I’d probably have stayed home and watched TV or played video games.”

Self-described school “lunch lady” Pamela Cote of Adams set up a “Dragons and Gargoyles” booth to display and sell her hand-drawn original artwork. The color and black-and-white drawings drew much admiration from fair-goers. Cote said she sometimes draws during cafeteria breaks.


Saundra Holt,11,smeared peanut butter on a pine cone to make a bird-feeder.
“I call it my ‘drawn atop the milk cooler’collection,” Cote said.

All revenue raised through fair art sales was being donated to the Jacobbe family, she added.

The fair concluded at 4 p.m..

After-school events committee members, some of whom served on the fun fair committee, were rewarded for their efforts early

Children clamored for entrance to a "bouncy-bounce."
Saturday morning. Rancourt and Conte school French teacher Sara Luczynski bought breakfast for the students…..at 6 a.m..

“We probably had about 25 kids come down to Linda’s Café," Rancourt said with a smile. “They all got up on a Saturday morning for breakfast.”

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

A multi-photograph slideshow of the fun fair is posted at www.iberkshires.com.
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