On Saturday, May 10, hundreds of neighbors gathered at Woodmere Elementary School, 7900 S.E. Duke Street, to celebrate the school’s historic hundredth birthday. This is the first year on the job for the current Principal, Rene Canler, who wandered about the carnival with a big grin, enjoying all the excitement and activity.

Food donated by community businesses was served by volunteers in the cafeteria, and students provided entertainment on the stage with dances and songs. Games, prizes, face painting, a raffle, a stilt-walking clown, and a bouncy castle were just a few of the activities that drew the neighbors.

Volunteer coordinator Damien Shows from the Woodmere Parent Group helped to organize nearly a hundred volunteers to assist in numerous ways. “We’ve had lots of help setting up the carnival from school staff, SUN (Schools Uniting Neighborhoods) volunteers, parents, and students – and everyone's excited about how well it has turned out,” he told THE BEE. He pointed to the cafeteria nearby, hung with dozens of various national flags, lending a multi-cultural aspect to the celebration.

by: RITA A. LEONARD - Woodmere Principal Rene Canler spent some time examining historic photos taken over the past century of Woodmere School. A booth set up by the Oregon State University Extension Service was set up adjacent to an historic photo exhibit in the hall. OSU volunteers distributed calendars and useful information on healthy snack food options. They also demonstrated how to make healthful strawberry smoothies with a blender powered by a stationary bicycle! Many students eagerly took a turn on the contraption to mix up “foot-pedal snacks” created by kid power. Birthday hats, murals, and posters of all kinds decorated the scene, as residents, teachers, and students celebrated the value of the school to the community over the past century.

Keeping the event light was Cha Cha the Clown circulating in colorful garb with flashy green pants hiding stilts that made her as tall as the doorways. Kids crowded around as she welcomed visitors in the front hall, then sauntered off to the gym to create balloon animals for eager youngsters.

Other carnival activities, managed by Woodmere student volunteers, included a dice roll, a bucket toss, bowling, a basketball toss, and beanbag and ring toss games for the younger crowd. Game tickets could be redeemed for prizes, while raffle items and a jewelry booth in the hall offered options for other treats. A large circular mural on the north wall of the school provided a permanent symbol of this historic centennial occasion, as the events of the day wound down with the approach of dusk.

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