Bounce houses, glow-stick tag, pizza and movies! More than 100 students, K-Gr. 5, participated in the family picnic sleepover, a longstanding Harker tradition. Held on a rainy night in the Bucknall gym and library in mid-March, the event drew energetic kids who had signed up at the Harker Family and Alumni Picnic last fall.
The evening, modeled after the summer camp sleepovers, began with pizza, fruit, veggies and soda served by Kelly Espinosa, director of summer programs, and Sarah Leonard, primary division head. After birthday cake provided by the Hirota family for the birthday of Vance, Gr. 2, the students had more fun in the gym.
They got to choose between two bounce houses and summer playtime activities including beach balls, hula hoops, rockets and flying disks. There were also arts and crafts activities in the gym lobby.
This last activity was a favorite of Misha Tseitlin, Gr. 5. A repeat attendee, Tseitlin liked that more of his friends came this year, and that “they actually let us make these wooden animals that we got to take home!”
After games and dancing in the gym, the kids (and adults) played glow-in-the-dark games, wearing glowing bracelets and necklaces. Kindergartners and first graders then went to the library for a movie and sleep, while the older kids stayed in the gym for their movie.
Hot breakfast was served in the morning, along with doughnuts. The food was the favorite part of the event for kindergartner Ainsley Millard. She loved the Tom and Jerry movie and “eating my favorite pizza, cheese pizza,” she said. “And we got to eat ring pops. And I had bacon and eggs and cereal and doughnuts for breakfast.”
Espinosa started the sleepover so that the school-year kids could have a chance to participate in one of the most popular summer camp activities. A good time was had by all, as noted by Justin Culpepper, Gr. 5, who attended for the third year. “Having glow-stick tag in the gym was fun!” he said. He also loved having doughnut holes for breakfast, and proclaimed the whole event “awesome!”
Many teachers, BEST staff and summer staff volunteer to help with the sleepover. Espinosa recognized the time and effort put in to make the event such a success, and appreciates all the volunteers, some of whom have helped every year.
Teachers who volunteered included Diann Chung, Gr. 1 teacher, K-Gr. 2 department chair and summer academic principal; Kelle Sloan, Gr. 1, 2 and 3; Eric Leonard, Gr. 3 English; Joe Chung, Gr. 4- 5 computer science and summer program director; Tobias Wade, Gr. 4- 5 social studies and summer program director; and Keith Hirota, middle school history and social science and summer swim teacher. Gary Mallare, middle school counselor, also assisted.
Helping to organize as well as run the event were Tristan Perks, summer program director, and Vanessa Bullman, K-Gr. 8 yearbook manager and summer program director. BEST staff volunteers included Arwen Lange, assistant BEST director and summer art teacher; Eric Kallbrier, Hillaray Tiopo, Amanda Crook and Tim Callahan.
In addition, some summer staff were on hand, including Kelsey Chung, Gr. 12 Harker student, plus Cai Balara, Mindy Hsiao, Megan Barrie, Stephanie Janac, Jackie Kolbeck and Anirudh Agarwala. Finally, kitchen staffers Carlos Madrigal, Juan Jimenez and Martha Gonzales came in on Saturday morning to cook breakfast.