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It Takes a Village to Build an Olympic Village for Highview Students

It was a perfectly beautiful sunny day for Highview’s annual Fun in the Sun event. The all-day event is a PTA-organized tradition that originally found its inspiration in a year when the summer Olympics were taking place. “Fun in the Sun is one of students’ favorite events of the year,” said Highview PTA President Gabby Barahona. “We have a dedicated committee who starts the planning in the winter. Events take place all day, all over the school. It’s a lot to organize, but it’s so worth it when you see how much fun the students are having.”

Just like the real thing, Highview students started the morning with the Olympics Opening Ceremony. Carrying torches made from tissue paper, each class paraded out representing different countries - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Nigeria, and Switzerland. At the end of the ceremony, and just before the lighting of the Olympic Torch, Mr. Mastrangelo gave a speech to the students and their families that ended with, “I declare, open the 2024 Highview Games!”

What makes this day even more special is the parent, school, and community involvement. With dozens of volunteers to help with the big day, including parents and students from Woodlands High School, it was a shining example of how many hands really do make light work. The activities the students participated in were made possible by local businesses and organizations. Highview students enjoyed decorating medals and making flags, baseball games on Webb Field with Elmsford Little League, story time with Greenburgh Public Library, Lego creations, music on the playground with DJ Corey Jenkins, rock painting and gardening, a photo booth, and a dance party in the gym with Dream Dance Studio. Every year, though, the main attraction is the Hartsdale Fire Department station, where students get to experience what it feels like to be a firefighter - which for some students, has always been a childhood dream. “This has always been a highlight for students,” said Captain Palmesi. “They can safely experience what we do, with real equipment. We incorporate team building into the activity, too, which is a big part of the job. Community support is important for what we do, so we want to return that support.” For Gabby Barahona, she believes that community is everything. “The PTA is about building and growing community,” she said. “The best part is when we can share with others the great things we know are happening in the schools for our students.”