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The City Journals

Families create masterpieces at Jordan Hills’ family week

Mar 29, 2019 10:44AM ● By Jet Burnham

Brad and Zoey Olson enjoy time together at Family Paint Night. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

By Jet Burnham | [email protected]

Jordan Hills Elementary’s Family Week, held Feb 25–28, provided four nights of free, family fun with Bingo, roller skating, painting and dancing.

“It’s just to bring the family together and create opportunities for them,” said Rachael Homer, who has five children—preschool through sixth grade—attending Jordan Hills. “I love my family, and I think anytime we have a chance to bond, especially in different ways or learning new things or doing things we don’t typically do, it helps those relationships.”

Activities for the annual family-focused week vary each year, but Paint Night is a traditional event. Homer, who owns a painting business, provided step-by-step instructions, including every family member, so the final piece reflected their unique family. Many families have a collection of canvases they’ve created together over the years hanging in their homes.

“This is the fourth time we’ve come, and I absolutely love it,” said Tara Toler, who was painting with her sixth-grade son, Malachi Robinson. “Because with art, there’s no wrong or right, there’s no pressure—you can follow her but there’s no pressure to.” She and Malachi each painted one side of the canvas so that the final piece showcased both their personalities—a simple cactus and a colorful flower.

“I’m kind of simple, and she’s really exuberant when she paints,” said Malachi.

Jen Hunt said the activity was a good exercise in teamwork for her daughters Danni, a third-grader, and Skyler, an eighth-grader.

“I helped [Danni] a bit; I did the outline and she filled it in,” Hunt said. “[Skyler] did the detail work.”

The Hunts also attended the midweek Skate Night at Classic Skating where Danni got to try out her new skates.

Homer was pleased with the turnout to all the activities throughout the week. About 200 people attended Bingo Night where books, donated by the school library and Bingham Creek Library (just next door), were given as prizes.

The Caceres family attended the dance party and the Bingo night.

“I think it’s a great idea because all of the family participated,” said Hugo Caceres. His two second-graders were thrilled to win books for their bingos. “It’s always good when the kids have prizes—they don’t need to be fancy, but just participating is fun. It is exciting to see their face when they win.”

Brad Olson said Family Week provided simple, fun and cheap ways for him to spend time with his daughter, Zoey, a second-grader.

 “I work all day, she’s at school—it's good for us to get out and do something different,” said Olson.

Principal Leilani Brecht said Family Week is one of the many ways the PTA strengthens the school and community.

“The PTA sees the school as something more than just a place to educate the kids but also sees it as a focal point for establishing a strong community that cares about each other,” said Brecht.

Brecht said the community welcomed her warmly when she replaced Michelle Lovell as principal in January.

“My very first day coming into this school I could feel the love and the welcoming open arms that are in this community,” she said. “It’s actually tangible. You come into the school and you feel it. You just know that you’ve come home.”