Bald Eagle

Mountaintop Elementary chefs reward students with unusual Halloween treats

CDT photo

To some Mountaintop Area Elementary School students, vampire blood, monster mash mudballs and graveyard leaves were treats that left a lot to be desired.

Others dared to be adventurous.

Fifth-grader Katelyn Smitchko even put a blindfold over her eyes and allowed school chef Lyn Timblin to feed her a mystery treat the food service department called “slugs.”

It was actually just a piece of orange, though.

School chefs Timblin, Erin Cramer and Trilby Mayes were dressed as witches and brewed up the Halloween-themed treats for the 139 students who participated in the school’s second annual Fall Fest on Friday afternoon that celebrated the its positive behavior program.

Principal Mary Beth Crago said it was the final event of the month that honored the kids who showed kindness, respect and responsibility in October.

During the program, each student was given a soaring eagle ticket that could be handed in to play games. There was also an area with “free” activities and a hayride around the school that was available to anyone involved, kindergarten teacher Jason Bair said.

The tractor was donated by Doug Smitchko, of Clarence, and Mike Veneziano, of Runville, donated the hay wagon for the rides. The Lions Club also sponsored the event.

Spearheaded by Bair and first-grade teachers Cortney Schall and Nicole Spear, it was a way to reward students for being good.

“We promote being proactive instead of reactive, and we want to reward them in the end,” Schall said. “The kids eat it up. They love the Fall Fest.”

Fifth-grader Rosalie Sowers, 11, got seven tickets.

She said most were for helping others, listening to her teachers and encouraging her classmates not to be bullies.

“It’s nice when you’re able to get something for your hard work,” she said. “At the end we have this fest and it brings the whole school together. We don’t always get to see some other students.”

Six students were even given the chance to dress like the Bald Eagle mascot, including Madison Perry, 10, whose job was to pump up his peers during outdoor activities.

And for parent volunteers, it was a chance to be a part of the community and spend time with their sons and daughters.

Travis McCullough has three sons at Mountaintop — 9-year-old twins Cole and Caden and 7-year-old Croix.

Earlier in October, he was part of a group of volunteer firefighters from the Pine Glen Fire Company who gave a presentation on fire prevention.

On Friday, he manned the pumpkin bowling game, along with about 25 other parents who helped with other activities.

“It’s a nice chance to be with the kids and get involved with their school and the things they’re doing,” McCullough said.

With a fall fest that school administration thinks will grow each year, Bair said planning for next year’s event will begin with a brainstorming session next spring.

Until then, students will continue to receive tickets for good behavior and turn them into the principal’s office for small prizes.

“This is a program that lasts all year,” Spear said.

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