Steamboat high school students host annual event for youngsters
May 2, 2012
Steamboat Springs — At 9 a.m. Wednesday, hundreds of children in preschool through second grade began to spill inside Steamboat Springs High School's gymnasium.
Their shoes squeaked as they ran from station to station, and their energy and enthusiasm couldn't be contained. For nearly five hours, the gymnasium was a noisy place that belonged to about 600 children.
"You have to always be upbeat and excited to see them," sophomore Maggie Harris said as she explained how she and her peers managed the organized chaos at the annual Kids Carnival. "You're always moving. There's no sitting around."
Harris and her high school classmates didn't know at first if they were ready to let in the crowd of young children eagerly waiting a day of games and activities.
"There was a little bit of anticipation. We were all holding our breath," Harris said. "But as soon as the kids got in, we all kind of breathed a deep sigh and said 'OK, I can do this.'"
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The children spent hours playing Twister, musical chairs and basketball. They tossed bean bags and tennis balls, and had their faces painted to make them look like animals and superheroes.
Teachers and students traveled from local schools and day care facilities for the carnival.
Students and adults alike look forward to the gathering each year.
"The kids get super excited for this," Soda Creek Elementary School teacher Kristi Spence said as she watched students bounce ping pong balls in cups. "For me, the best part about the carnival is seeing high schoolers interact with these young kids."
Members of the high school's leadership class put on the event. And the children appreciated the efforts of their elders.
"I think the fishing is the funnest," 4-year-old Grady Keefe said, pointing to a corner of the gym where kids "fished" for prizes.
Sophomore Jessie Selby was busy filling up paper cups with fresh popcorn as she described what value the event has for the older students.
"It's fun because you get to connect with the younger people in our community, which doesn't happen very often," she said.
Not far away, a Strawberry Park second-grader looked into a mirror and smiled after seeing her new "carnival" face.
"I really look forward to this," Evelyn Tarango, 7, said after she had her face painted to look like a dog. "I really like the games and the face painting."
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com