Mack Keating also contributed to this article.
The 2021 Fall Family Extravaganza proved, as Mayor Gary Christenson put it, “a fun-filled event” for many—the great turnout, a “testament to the liaisons...working for [Malden]”.
Bruna Oliveira and several other organizers planned a district-wide event that went into effect on November 10th. With the aim to offer space for participants to “learn about city-wide resources and meet [their] schools’ family liaison,” the occasion was packed not only with activities, but guests. Over 400 attendees showed up to the Salemwood School on 529 Salem St., with the crowd engaging themselves in Connect 4, arts and crafts, face painting, the outdoor corn maze, enjoying cotton candy, hot chocolate and other sweets.
Many Malden High School students volunteered to help run the event, and all appeared to have only positive opinions. Freshman Ollie Dodge, who ran the Arts & Crafts station, commented that the volunteers were “having so much fun with the kids” and that it was a “10 out of 10” and that they would “do this again.” Fellow Freshman, Justin Yip, seemed to have the same mentality as he continued Dodge’s remark and praised that the event seemed especially “fun for little kids” and that he “felt so good helping people.”
Down at the cotton candy machine, Freshmen volunteers Huong Ly and Melena Duong agreed that the event was going great. Ly mentioned that her favorite part was getting to “interact with everyone” in a COVID-safe way… “It makes me happy to see [the kids] smile.” Duong followed, saying that the event was “going really good” and she “would definitely volunteer again.”
Throughout the event, the lines seemed to crowd at the face painting station, where volunteers Natalie Keating, Sarah Pham, Jeslyn San, Samara Valencia Perez and Lovely Gerochi were kept busy all night. Keating, who has “face painted at events before”, noted that this event “was one of the most packed” events she had attended. She voiced her respect for the hosts, declaring she was “proud of how the family liaisons pulled it all together.” Coworker San added to this, expressing that the event was “very meaningful” to her and she enjoyed “meeting new people.”
Numerous groups and organizations had set up booths and tables around the event. The Linden S.T.E.A.M. Academy Parent Teacher Organization (P.T.O.) was among them, and member Waldina Del Rio reflected that it is always great to “get involved and meet people.” She further commented that it is important to “get word out to parents...for events going on and what's happening—like fundraisers—and [she encourages] others to do the same.”
At a neighboring table, the Director of Development at the Bread of Life and Malden High graduate, Patty Kelly, elaborated on Del Rio’s comments and claimed that this was a good “opportunity to get out in the community.”
Mayor Gary Christenson also seemed to share this thought. He claimed that this event was important “to bring the schools together to have fun, because everything is so quick and fast and stressful right now.” He also seemed to agree with Keating, mentioning that he was “impressed with this turnout, which is a testament to the liaisons” the city has working for them.
Overall, despite being held for merely two hours, the event was regarded as an immense success, both for those who organized the event and those who attended it. That evening, the Salemwood School accommodated hundreds of lively Maldonians. Goals to inform and promote their work to the participants had been exceeded, as the various family liaisons found the event a great opportunity to get out in the community so people know they are available. In the eyes of guest Lanyu Liang, the execution of such an objective proved “very fun for people of all ages.”
Agreeing to Liang’s remark, the event organizers concluded the event at 7 P.M., full of gratitude for all who showed up and with their energy, brought further color to the school’s gym and lawn.