AK students to host inaugural community festival, SpringFest 2012

by Morgan Smith

Whether they’re 5 or 65, community members can experience what it means to be an Ardrey Kell Knight at the school’s inaugural SpringFest.

Students at Ardrey Kell High School, with the guidance and help of teachers and Principal David Switzer, are planning the community-wide event to provide people of all ages a fun-filled day of activities. But here’s the catch: It’s all free – free admission, free activities and free entertainment.

“From the time I got here, I just thought we needed to have a community-type fair because Charlotte is so big,” Switzer said. “It kind of ties into our mission here. We just want (the community) to know that this is a great place to go to school.”

The event, Saturday, March 24, from 1 to 5 p.m., features a variety of activities for the whole family. Fun and games include a dunk tank, bounce house, relay races and flag football as well as live music from Next Level Church and performances by the Ardrey Kell High School dance team. That leads up to a raffle for a 2012 Honda Civic, provided by Hendrick Honda of Charlotte. Raffle tickets are $20 each and fund the school’s athletic booster club.

The student leadership councils helped coordinate the festival under the leadership of Anna Cameron, a French teacher at the school who helped nail down the logistics from entertainment to various booths and concessions. Clubs of all sorts will participate in the booths, some hosting carnival games like ring toss and duck pond, while others incorporate their own club interest.

Many local elementary schools participate in annual spring festivals, typically led by their own parent-teacher group organizations and normally directed as only school-wide events.

“What’s cool about this festival as opposed to the elementary festivals where it’s more just school-oriented is we are actually reaching out to the community,” Josh Bugica, a senior at Ardrey Kell and a student leadership member, said. “The student body is really what is making this festival come alive.”

The students also have been spreading the word to other schools like Community House Middle and various elementary schools in the area.

“I think elementary students are going to be an essential target because they’ll be able to see what we are made of,” Madison Pittman, a senior student leadership member, said.

“I think that when parents and kids come, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, I really want my kid to be in this Ardrey Kell community. It’s just a good school to be at,” she added.

Cameron, the teacher organizer of the event, said area vendors such as Chik-fil-A, Frankie Boys BBQ and Donatos also will be at the event for concessions. The school will not receive and portion of those sales, any other free foods will be provided such as popcorn and cotton candy, and possibly some free drinks.

“We just want people to come out and have a good time,” Cameron said. “The community has been very generous and we just want to provide a fun activity for them.”

Ardrey Kell athletics will host several activities throughout the day, in friendly competitions with sports like girl’s basketball and lacrosse, allowing the community to have insight into the Ardrey Kell athletics department and the students that represent it on a day-to-day basis.

“We want it to be more of a community event. It’s not so much about the raffle and selling tickets; it’s more of just getting kids here in a non-threatening environment,” Switzer added. “That’s why we wanted (it to be open to) kindergarten through 12th grade, all the way up. We want kids to be able to hang out with the high school kids in a nice environment.”

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