Every year since finishing fifth grade, Austin Clark has returned to Hazel Dell Elementary—not for a class or credit but for a beloved tradition: the school’s Enrichment Fair. On April 3, the Skyview sophomore caught up with former teachers and helped current Hazel Dell students with an art project.
Clark was one of more than 100 volunteers who spent the morning teaching 35 different activities to Hazel Dell students. Firefighters from Clark County Fire and Rescue gave tours of a fire truck; karate instructor Doug Bertrand gave lessons to bourgeoning martial artists; and master gardeners explained plant lifecycles as students sowed seeds in terrariums donated by a local business. “It’s fun!” exclaimed first-grader Carlos Velazquez as he learned about different potato varieties from Washington State University Master Gardener Barbara Nordstrom.
The 2014 theme was “Magical Mystery Tour,” but the real magic could be found in the volunteers’ spirit.
Like Clark, many other volunteers also return to the fair year after year.
“I come back for the kids,” said Tom Ellis, a former Hazel Dell parent who has volunteered at every Enrichment Fair since it began 26 years ago. For the past 22 years, he’s supervised the birdhouse building, one of many projects designed to give the students something to take home at the end of the day.
In addition to community volunteers, staff members are key players in the fair. This year, Diane Stixrud and Cindy Hudson coordinated the events.
The school’s parent-teacher association and the neighborhood Jo-Ann Fabric store supported the fair. “Our community understands the value of supporting one another’s endeavors,” said Principal Woody Howard.
After all, the volunteers claim that they get as much from the fair as the kids do.
Said Clark, who plans to return next year, “It’s wonderful to be here.”