September 1, 2014
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Big kids throw a party for 'little' kids
DECKED OUT: TJ Zincone III got right into the mood of the occasion.

The students at Vets know how to throw a party. And better yet, they got to do it during school hours.

That makes it sound like more fun than work.

It wasn’t, says teacher Michael Sollitto, who, with teachers Cyndi Rix and Julie Mixner, advises the school’s Leadership Academy.

“The students really stepped up to the plate,” Sollitto said, “they were in here Sunday getting ready.”

Borrowing lights and other Christmas decorations from their homes and friends, the students decorated the school’s small auditorium and created a North Pole and a place for Santa in the adjoining cafeteria.

Invitations had already gone out to the first and second graders at Park School, so the Vets students knew they would have a full house on Monday. Park was picked because it is “considered like a sister school,” said Sollitto. Many members of the academy, which is made up of about 90 juniors and seniors, tutor Park students. The academy has also helped with a Halloween activity at the school.

Once at Vets, the Park students wasted no time joining in games, face painting, crafting ornaments, decorating gingerbread cookies, caroling and, of course, visiting with Santa. Each of the two Park classes – a total of about 100 students – spent 90 minutes at the high school before leaving with bags filled with their creations.

“This has been so much fun for the kids,” said Park first grade teacher Darien Pettit.

Reflecting on the tragedy at Newtown, “It’s what we all needed to see,” added Rix.

In addition to celebrating the season, Sollitto said one goal of the party was to give the elementary school kids a glimpse of the school they could end up attending in another seven or eight years.

As for the high school students, Sollitto concluded, “They really took the reins.”


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