BOGOTA - The Steen School's Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) on Jan. 27 held a night of sports and dancing for third and fourth grade students. The event, known as Activity Night, was held 6 to 9 p.m. in the Steen School gym.
"Activity Night is a way to get the kids together and be social [while] at the same time getting them away from computer games," said PTO President Pauline McDonnell. "We have structured play and dancing. We divide the gym into three sections: The front is for dancing and music, next are the volleyball nets and the last is basketball."
"These evenings of fun are held through the year to keep the kids busy. We provide pizza, snacks and water for the kids to refuel," she added.
Thirty-seven children attended the event, rotating among the three activity sections. Six sixth grade students volunteered at the event along with PTO members, according to McDonnell.
Steen Principal Anna Rita Falco attended the event and said it complemented school efforts on nutrition and physical exercise.
"We won that wonderful Jets grant, so we've got to keep up the momentum," she said. "Mrs. McDonnell and the PTO staff worked with the gym teacher, Terry Ciccone, for [tonight's] activities and the different set-ups. They're all games the kids are familiar with. It's another way to keep the kids moving and fit in a fun way. These are things they can do all their life, even when they're older, too."
In November 2011, the Steen School was awarded a $5,000 grant for kitchen equipment from the Eat Right, Move More program, a partnership between the Jets, the state Department of Agriculture, and the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council's Fuel Up to Play 60 campaign. The school received the grant due to its efforts to promote nutrition and exercise among students.
McDonnell noted that money was raised from Activity Night through admission and food fees. Admission was $5 per child, while food ranged in price from 50 cents to $2. Among the food offerings were apples, snack bars, cookies, popcorn and pizza.
The total amount raised from the event was not immediately available. It will be divided between the PTO and the Steen Yearbook Committee, McDonnell said, adding the PTO plans to use its share this spring to beautify the Steen School with new flowers and benches.
She noted that the event was successful and the kids had a good time.
"It turned out awesome! The kids are having a ball," she said. "They love it. They want to know when the next one is."
Eight-year-old Jose Manuel said he liked being with friends.
"This is my first time, and I'm very excited!" he exclaimed.
The third grade student added he most enjoyed playing basketball and wanted to come again.
Councilwoman Wanda Uceta said she attended the event to learn more about the PTO. Uceta has a daughter in the first grade at Steen School and a son in the Jr./Sr. High School.
"It's just great coming here and seeing the kids play," she said. "My daughter goes to Steen School, and I want to start helping in the PTO and with the children."
An Activity Night was previously held for fifth and sixth graders on Jan. 6. Additional ones are being planned for kindergarten, first and second grades, McDonnell noted.