NSES celebrates being back together

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, October 26, 2021

After a year away, students were ready to have some fun again at school.

Northern Shores Elementary School celebrated being back together this fall with a Harvest Fest for its students and families on Oct. 22 spread out in the parking lot.

This Harvest Fest was the first event the school has held in person since the start of COVID-19 in March 2020. The excitement for the event was clear as cars filled the parking lot and parked down Respass Beach Road.

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With the unexpected crowd, masks were strongly recommended, and social distancing was followed. Even so, with the DJ playing family favorites in the background, NSES families were in for a fun night.

“People seem to be happy and smiling,” said Kirstyn O’Neill, PTA president. “You can see it on their faces even under the mask.”

The school’s PTA has planned this event since August. According to O’Neill, the PTA has a new board that worked hard to give the families something safe and fun to participate in after such a long time apart.

“We wanted something that was safe and fun,” said O’Neill. “It’s an opportunity to serve the community.”

There was plenty to do as kids played carnival games and interacted with members from the Suffolk Fire Department who were there with a few trucks. There were also vendors and food trucks for anyone looking to shop.

For $5, the school created a Candy Land path for the families to go down. Along the path, teachers from every grade level had stations with games and candy for everyone who came through. Afterward, students could take their turn in one of the bounce houses.

“There’s something for everyone here,” said Dr. Andrea Wilkins, vice principal at Northern Shores Elementary School.

To make sure there was something for everyone, this Harvest Fest had a unique feature. Around the corner of the building where the music wasn’t so loud and the people weren’t so close was a sensory station. At this station, there was a ball pit and Orbeez water beads. This was available for students who may get overstimulated easily or need a quiet and simple place to have fun.

O’Neill’s son has autism, so she knows how hard it can be for families who want to go to events, but there wasn’t anything for their students. O’Neill wanted to make sure her time in the PTA changes that and provides more opportunities for students.