In the midst of traditions getting larger, Flat Rock Elementary School remains happy to be the hub of the small community with its Parent Teacher Organization Fall Bazaar returning pretty much as it was two years ago. In the words of Assistant Principal LuAnne Llewellyn, the community school is proud to be “the face of Flat Rock.”
“We did this as a fundraiser for many years and brought it back after we didn’t do one last year,” said PTO President Jennifer Freeman, who estimated a total of 15 vendors were participating in the bazaar this year. “All the proceeds go back to support the school. We’re working for technology now.”
Freeman’s group has been involved with successful improvement to the school playground and air conditioning the gymnasium which is used by a variety of local groups and students. She said the school has SmartBoards in place but would like to purchase sets of iPads with the goal of every student in a classroom having one to use.
She said the bazaar was organized to provide something interesting and enjoyable for everyone and students were given incentives to participate including homework passes for those who were bringing their parents.
Freeman praised the support of the community, business and churches which have made a tradition of donating essentials for the school which has close to 90 percent of its students participate in free or reduced lunch.
Llewellyn said the school has two laptop computer carts which are seeing heavy use and said it is important for students to have access to a variety of electronic devices not only for classroom but to prepare them to take tests as more of them go online.
“Eventually, I believe all tests will be done online. It’s here. We are living it and we need to prepare students,” said Llewellyn. “There are other applications for technology as well. Our Exceptional Children (EC) department uses them on a daily basis and it is part of teaching 21st Century skills. There is never a down moment on an iPad in this school.”
She said the impact of federal and state budget cuts is that there is no money available to buy anything much less the extras. She said the PTO has really stepped up to bridge this void and has become the school’s “go to” people.
“Community and churches have been so committed. There is not question the supplies are going here to help,” said Freeman. They start buying items a year in advance. We also have been fortunate with Renfro Corporation helping us on both the AC and playground projects.
“We are the community. We take the sentiment, shop local, literally. We shop downtown Flat Rock,” Llewellyn said.
One of those exhibiting their handiwork for the school Saturday morning was Meadowview Middle School sixth-grader Breanna McNabb, who talked about a row of rubber band bracelets she made while placing them on a rack. She calls her creations “The Loops.”
“I made them so you can double them up and wear them as a bracelet or wear them as a necklace,” said McNabb. “I’ve been making them since last night and sometimes you can get blisters if you make enough of them.”
She said she has made craft items before like candy cane reindeer and snowman candy gloves, which are made of a candy bar and a pair of gloves. The bracelets were part of a selection of items featured by her grandmother, Annette Rogers.
“I just do this for the fun of working with my granddaughter,” said Rogers. “It also helps us earn a little extra Christmas money.”
Another vendor, Angie Flippin, said the snowman keeping count of the days until Christmas she was setting up at her “Just Jewelry” booth was a gift from her heart sister at Antioch Baptist Church, which is near North Surry High School. Flippin said her mentor in the business was Susan Thomas.
“I decided that if I was going to wear it, I’d sell it,”said Thomas. “I look for events like this. What I love about it is the faces and the people. I have a blast doing this.”
She said this was her second year participating in the bazaar and that the company has a tradition of giving back by donating proceeds from sales to help charities and schools like Flat Rock Elementary.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.