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The City Journals

Howard Driggs Celebrates Families

Sep 29, 2016 04:04PM ● By Kelly Cannon

Hundreds of families turned out for the family lunch. (Sarah Madsen/Howard Driggs Elementary)

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Students at Howard Driggs Elementary celebrated families of all shapes and sizes during the annual Family Week. The weeklong event is a national PTA program that local PTAs are encouraged to participate in. 

“It’s to bring families together. They’ve found that when families are involved in education, the kids are far more successful,” Ginger Vilchinsky, PTA president at Howard Driggs Elementary, said. “We’re concentrating on the family and trying to build up the family, which is part of the purpose of the PTA, and we’re able to help these students accomplish their goals and do better in the school.”

Though Family Week has been a tradition at Howard Driggs for several years, Vilchinsky said this year, the PTA has come to realize families come in all shapes and sizes. 

“We’ve really tried to not just focus on the traditional family but also focus on the family that we have at Driggs,” Vilchinsky said. “Kids have teachers and peers and other leaders in their school community that make up a family unit as well and are there to support them and make them feel like they’re a part of something bigger and important.”

Several activities happened during the week to celebrate families. Students drew a family tree to celebrate their individual families. Students then created a flower mural out of their handprints to celebrate their school family. On Sept. 14, Tonyburgers, which is a community partner with the school, donated a dollar for every hamburger sold. Families were encouraged to go and eat as a family. There was also a world map at the school where students could mark where their ancestors came from. 

The culminating event was a family lunch where parents and other family members could come to the school and have lunch with their students. 

“It was really remarkable in the fact that the principal and myself were prepared to have kids whose families couldn’t make it sit with us and we had three students throughout the whole day. We only had three students that needed someone to eat lunch with,” Vilchinsky said. “The other students were incorporated into other people’s families if their own families couldn’t make it. It was truly remarkable to see moms and dads take time off of work and be there supporting their students.”

Vilchinsky said the kids love and thrive on the lunch and parents also find it to be a neat thing. 

“It’s fun for them to be able to come and eat lunch and see their students. I know that I enjoy it, eating lunch with my girls,” she said. “The kids love it. They absolutely love it.”