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Two girls enjoying cotton candy at the Family Picnic


The Family Picnic is a highly anticipated event that’s become a May tradition at IHMS for the past 20 years. However, this year’s picnic didn’t take place in May, and came very close to being cancelled altogether. After two rain delays the event was eventually postponed to the middle of June. Despite a forecast of severe thunderstorms, the weather cooperated at the last minute and the event went ahead as planned.


A few of the younger students at the picnic


The picnic is not organized by the school – it’s organized by the parents of the school, the Parent’s Guild.  It’s open to 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.


IHMS graduates of 2016 reconnecting with their friends at the Family Picnic


pinkbluecc3.html 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 except for one pre-cut, nut free home baking. It’s a great way for members of the school community to enjoy each other’s company in a relaxed and informal setting.


A few of the grade 6-8 students waiting in line to use the bouncer in the gym


This year’s picnic took place on Tuesday, June 13, the third year in a row in the month of June. The picnic was originally planned for May 25, but was postponed to June 7 because of the imminent forecast of rain. Finally, the organizers settled on a third and final date of June 13. The picnic 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. Balloons1


Students waiting in line to use the bouncer


Most of the parents 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.


Members of the school community enjoying each other’s company on the school playground


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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. Unfortunately, the weather forecast suggested the possibility of rain and even a severe thunderstorm in the late afternoon, so the food table and the main attraction (a big bouncer) were brought into the school gym.


Because of the threat of rain, the food table and the big bouncer were brought into the school gym


The day of the picnic was also a N.U.T. day, and students were encouraged to dress in comfortable and colourful summer wear. The rain and severe thunderstorms that were predicted by Environment Canada didn’t materialize, and the weather on Tuesday, June 13 was pleasant with a mixture of sun and cloud.  


Despite an ominous forecast, the weather turned out to be almost perfect!


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


Father Julian Khomechko, OSBM led everyone in prayer before the food was served



This was the main source of protein at the Annual Family Picnic 


Everyone then lined up for the food table, which was moved inside the school gym in case of rain. The line was long, but moved quickly thanks to volunteers serving the food. In addition to barbecued hotdogs, there were salads, freshly cut vegetables, and various other delicious homemade foods. A dessert table was set up nearby with the pre-cut home baking that parents brought as admission. Coffee, orange juice, and water were also readily available for anyone who wanted something to drink.


Students and parents lined up for food in the gym and ate in the playground


As in the past, there was one main attraction at the Family Picnic – an inflatable bouncer. This year’s bouncer, which was set up in the gym because of the possibility of rain, was larger and more interesting than in previous years. Students had to crawl through a short tunnel (after removing their shoes), scale a steep incline, and then 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.


 The main attraction at the Family Picnic was an inflatable “bouncer” that was set up in the gym. This year’s bouncer was different in style than the type rented by the school in previous years.


In addition to the big bouncer, there were also several different tossing games that involved throwing beanbags, frisbees, or shooting a plastic puck at a target. Most of these games were available but not set up or used, probably because there was a new game that involved shooting a ball (similar to a basketball) into a net. This game seemed to be quite popular.


The new ball throwing game (top photos) and the unused older games (bottom photo)


Parent and student volunteers managed to keep the picnic running smoothly. The student volunteers, who were all from grade 7 and 8, did a wonderful job in reducing the number of parent volunteers needed. This gave more parents the chance to relax and spend time with their families. 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.


A few of the student and parent volunteers who served food and passed out snacks at the picnic


A table was set up for people to enter their name for a free raffle of donated prizes. This year, there were some excellent prizes. Every family attending the Picnic was eligible to enter their family’s name once.


As can be seen in the above photos, another activity featured at the picnic was a face painting station where face painting was performed by artistic grade 8 girls.


Everything about the picnic seemed to go as planned despite the dire weather forecast. The weather turned out better than expected, and everyone seemed to have a good time! Thank you to Mr. Arnold Dumlao for organizing the entire event, and all the volunteers who made the family picnic the success that it was.





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