The Annual Family Picnic

 

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A grade 7 student enjoying the food at the picnic

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The Family Picnic is a highly anticipated event that’s become a May tradition at IHMS for the past 17 years. The picnic is not organized by the school – it’s organized by the parents of the school, the Parent’s Guild.  It’s open for all current IHMS students and their family members. It’s also open to former students who have already graduated and moved on to other schools.  In fact, the picnic is a great way for alumni to revisit the school to reconnect and socialize with old friends in the school community.

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A few of the former IHMS students who attended the Family Picnic

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The picnic takes place on the playground at the end of the school day, and unlike most other IHMS events, it has only one purpose – fun! There are no fund raising concerns, no silver collection, and no obligations whatsoever for either the students or the children. It’s a great way for members of the school community to enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed and informal setting.

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IHMS staff members enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the picnic

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This year’s picnic had originally been planned for May 15, but the long, cold winter of 2014 forced organizers to reschedule after realizing that the grassed area of the playground still had snow at the beginning of May! Of course the grassed area of the playground has to be dry for some of the games and for the inflatable bouncer. picnic1

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Grade 7 girls sitting at the two picnic tables near the school entrance

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So, the Family Picnic was rescheduled to Thursday, May 29th – two weeks after the originally scheduled date. It began right after dismissal and ran until approximately 5:30 p.m. Parents didn’t have to make a special trip to attend the picnic because they had to be at the school to pick up their kids anyway. Many of them brought lawn chairs and socialized while their children enjoyed the various activities planned by the organizing committee. As students played with their friends and parents socialized with other parents, these positive interactions help create an important “sense of community” within the school.

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Parents socializing and relaxing at the picnic

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Everything about the Picnic was informal – families came when they could, and stayed as long as they wanted. Admission was only one pre-cut home baking per family. As usual, there were plenty of activities and attractions to keep everyone entertained.

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The day of the picnic was also a N.U.T. day, and students were encouraged to dress in comfortable and colourful summer wear. This was a great idea because the weather was sunny and 31 degrees – maybe a bit too hot but almost perfect for a picnic.

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The students enjoyed dressing in casual summer wear for the picnic

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Since it was a picnic, a lot of delicious food was available, including barbecued hot dogs (cooked on the school’s two barbeques), salads, vegetable platters, chips, drinks, cotton candy, Freezies, and popcorn.

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Some of the food available at the picnic

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At 4:15 p.m., Mr. Picklyk announced that the food was being served right after the school chaplain, Father Isadore Dziadyk, OSBM led everyone in prayer.

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Mr. Picklyk (top photo) and Father Isadore praying (bottom photo)

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After the meal, a dessert table was set up with the pre-cut home baking that parents brought as admission. Coffee, orange juice, and water were included in the meal for anyone who wanted.

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The dessert table (top photo) and the beverage stand (bottom photos)

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As in the past few years, there was one main attraction at the Family Picnic – an inflatable bouncer. This was a large air-filled structure that children crawled up on one side (after removing their shoes), in order to bounce or slide down the other side. Because it was so popular, most kids had to wait in line for a few minutes to try it out.

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The bouncer is always the main attraction at the picnic

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There were also several different tossing games that involved throwing beanbags, frisbees, or shooting a plastic puck at a target. They attracted very little attention, and did seem to be popular with the kids.

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The throwing and shooting games did not attract much attention

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Another activity featured at the picnic was a face painting station where face painting was performed by artistic grade 8 girls.

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Face painting performed by Marysa F. and Maddy J.

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Parent and student volunteers managed to keep the picnic running smoothly. Workers were needed for the inflatable bouncer slide, the food tables, the barbeques, the popcorn and Freezie stations, and the cotton candy machine. These stations also required some heavy lifting in setting up and tearing down afterwards. Parent volunteers were also busy working behind the scenes preparing the food and drink for the picnic.

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A few of the parent and teacher volunteers busy at their jobs

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Ms. Rowe and Ms. Karhut ran a few outdoor games for students on the grassed area of the playground, including a candy scramble for the younger children and various types of races.

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Ms. Karhut and Ms. Rowe supervised games on the grassed area of the playground

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A table was set up for people to enter their name for a free raffle of donated prizes. This year, one of the door prizes was a Samsung smart phone donated by MTS, and every family attending the Picnic was eligible to enter their family’s name once.

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Grade 8 boys worked at the raffle table

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Everything about the picnic seemed to go as planned. The weather was fantastic and everyone seemed to have a good time! Thank you to Mrs. Ruff, Mr. Dumaua, and Mrs. Kennedy for organizing the event, and for all the volunteers who made the family picnic the success that it was.

 

 

pointinghand1 Click here to view additional photos of the Family Picnic

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