ACCORD – Rondout Valley students, teachers, and community members came together for a day of fun, learning, and team building activities at this year’s Fall Festival, which was held at the Rondout Valley Intermediate/Junior High School on October 16. Students from both the Intermediate School and the Junior High School were able to play games while meeting local business owners and organization volunteers, who shared information about the amazing careers and hobbies they have.
This year’s event featured animals of all kinds. Intermediate School teachers Sarah Hornbeck and Alicia Iannizzotto brought puppies and kittens for an activity that allowed students to sit and quietly hold the baby animals as they learned more about how to handle them properly. One booth displayed several live birds of prey, including a peregrine falcon that perched on the volunteer’s arm while she answered questions. Students were able to examine a variety of animal pelts and jaw bones while learning more about local wildlife from Wildlife Educator Sean Marinucci. There was also a variety of farm animals, including a small goat, as part of the 4-H exhibit. Additionally, the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department had Deputy Tuohy there with their therapy K9 that students could pet.
The event was broken up into two sections. One section was called Gander Games which students rotated through in groups and featured a few different workshops on Team Building and Body Positivity and Fitness. Members of New Paltz Karate were there to provide mini-lessons for students while another station led an instrument and drumming circle.
On the other side of the school was the Gander Market, where students were able to move around on their own and interact with the community members at their booths. Students could learn about knitting at the Eleven Six Knitwear table or make friendship bracelets with Go Beyond Greatness. Ulster BOCES had their young professionals at a booth with information about different programs including cosmetology and electrical training, or visitors could learn more about the robot they brought with them. The Kerhonkson Fire Department brought a ladder truck, an antique fire truck, and several volunteer firefighters to answer questions.
There were several creative crafts students could take part in, including making Halloween-themed bookmarks, decorating pumpkins, and numerous lawn games to play. Rosendale Heart & Soul asked students what they thought would improve the town of Rosendale and Ulster Savings Bank had a spin the wheel–win a prize booth. One of the most popular booths was “Popcorn with Poppy’’ featuring Intermediate School Special Education teacher Dana deLaura and her grandfather. There was also a sensory table with several different types of slime and a bulletin board project students could contribute to.
This year’s Fall Fest was a wonderful success thanks to all of the community members, school staff, and volunteers who contributed. The event coordinators, Intermediate School teachers Shannon Moysey and Kevin O’Shea, were thrilled with the outcome of the event. “It really was such a fantastic day thanks to all the amazing participants who made it a success,” said Moysey.