Grateful for Our Great Gatherings

by Michael Porter
Grateful Gatherings give parents and children in consecutive grade levels the chance to get together, play, and make new friends.
Before the Covid pandemic, our Fall Festival would bring more than 800 people to campus in early October each year. Even as restrictions became more relaxed in the Fall of 2021, no one was yet comfortable with having such a large crowd on campus.

The Parents' Association, therefore, created the Grateful Gatherings as a way for parents, students, and faculty to connect in a more intimate setting. By hosting three events with fewer families, there is a real opportunity to get to know each other!
Students found many activities to keep them busy. Of course, the most popular attraction was the ice cream truck!
Arts and crafts tables were aplenty. Kids busied themselves making jewelry out of natural materials, constructing hats, and even painting rocks!

"I watched two boys painting Piggie and Gerald rocks – one rock was Piggie and the other was Gerald," said Lindsey Davis, President of the Parents' Association. "It was cute to see them so excited to paint characters from books they are learning to read!"
Ms. Davis also observed parents getting creative with ways to hang on to their children's rock artwork. One only has so many pockets!
"The activities that our Parents' Association plan for each event is tailored to the age groups attending so engagement is high and everyone leaves with a craft they have completed as well as wonderful memories," said Director of Advancement, Rebecca Schwam.

Most importantly, Grateful Gatherings are great big assemblies for our families.
"Grateful Gatherings are a time for JCDS Families to come together, make new connections and celebrate the one thing we’re all most grateful for — our children!" said Ms. Davis.
Rebecca Schwam agreed. 
"Parents meeting parents is wonderful," Ms. Schwam said. "Children having the opportunity to share their school with their families is really neat!"