Surry Schools’ Winter Carnival a smashing success

By: Terry Harris | Email: Click Here
Posted: December 24, 2019 | 3:15 p.m.

SURRY – Even the dreary, rainy day did not deter hundreds of students, parents and volunteers set on participating in this year’s Surry County Public Schools Winter Carnival, according to Dr. Serbrenia J. Sims, School Asst. Superintendent. And in spite of some trepidation due to the rain, she added, everything went off smoothly.

As Sims described it, all day anticipation built in the schools even as the front office staff fielded an increasing number of calls from parents concerned that the torrential rainfall might force postponement of the popular annual event.  

But fortunately it did not. The students survived the full day of classes and a bus ride home just to be able to return to the school a few hours later to enjoy the fun. And at 4 p.m. a brief slack in the rain allowed staff and parent volunteers to funnel into the Surry Elementary School cafetorium where they received instructions, ate a quick meal, and were all ready for the five o’clock festivities.

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Promptly at 5:00, Dr. Sims welcomed the standing room only crowd. School Board Chair Laura Ruffin encouraged the families to eat and enjoy the evening and reminded them to complete the superintendent search survey on Surry County Public Schools website.  Dr. Richard Bowmaster, Virginia Tiered Systems of Support coach, spoke briefly on the importance of family engagement, socio-emotional and mental health support. And finally Dr. Sims turned over the microphone to Clyde Tucker, band director. 

The band, which had been patiently waiting on the stage throughout the opening remarks, wowed the crowd with a lively program of holiday music before Surry Elementary School principal Ann Marie Nelin explained that she would be giving directions for the progress of the evening throughout the event.  

That’s when the real fun began. As students and parents rotated through the building they experienced academic games, hot chocolate, free books, community support vendors, music and dancing, bounce houses, gingerbread house construction and many other indoor activities.  In fact, according to Dr. Sims, there was so much fun to be had at the SCPS Winter Carnival, sponsored by a Virginia Tiered Systems of Support Grant, that the crowd barely noticed the driving rain continuing outside.

Afterward, Dr. Sims attributed much of the success of the evening to months of coordination, planning and purchasing and some outstanding efforts by staff, noting especially the contributions of two women who went above and beyond to see that the event went off without a hitch. She explained that Surry County High School Assistant Principal Courtney Ward worked tirelessly creating spreadsheets, floorplans, color-coordinated time schedules and rotations to ensure that all families had an opportunity to experience the entire Carnival. Also, Sims said, Nola Carey, staff member at Luther Porter Jackson Middle School, brought a special touch to coordinating and executing all the plans.  

“These two ladies lead an army of volunteers and vendors to ensure that the rain did not put a damper on the experience for all,” Dr. Sims said, adding “Our carnivals are an excellent opportunity to promote family engagement as well as speaking to the community on the value of strong academic and behavior achievements.  We have great students and schools in Surry.  We see our carnivals as a way to celebrate and include the entire community in our successes.  My sincere appreciation goes out to the staff and parent volunteers who made this night a huge success.”  

Copyright 2019 by Womack Publishing
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