The Boy finished 5th grade and graduated Elementary School!
It feels a bit like a punch in my mama gut. Six years of elementary school flew by! I’m so proud of him and so happy that he’s excited to go to middle school, but I just need him to stop the growing he’s doing and stay little for awhile longer.
No? Not going to happen?
Well then, as tradition goes at our school, a celebration for this milestone was about to happen and I am grateful that the PTO asked me to co-chair the event.
I teamed up with my lovely, hilarious, hard working and imaginative friend, Heather, to throw an awesome celebration for this class of 2017!
Heather is the owner and creative genius behind Respond if you please, a sweet little shop in my town of Southbury, Connecticut offering invitations, announcements, favors and gifts for all of life’s celebrations.And can I just tell you, without sounding too corny, we just get each other.
This was our first time working together to co-chair an event and our energy and enthusiasm match. Our creative juices bubble over when you put us across from each other at a table to plan. A 15 minute meeting turns into a few hours of non-stop over-the-top discussions, visions and ideas that most people would call us crazy for. Our sense of humor keeps us sane even when the most unexpected circumstances are thrown at us. And there were plenty.
First up, we needed a theme. Without giving it a second thought, we wanted to do an Escape Room for the 5th graders. “Escape to Middle School” was going to be full of fun for the students.And since this year marked 50 years since Pomperaug Elementary School opened, we decided that the setting for our Escape Rooms should be classrooms and school supplies through the last 5 decades.
With a tight budget to keep in mind and a tricky space to host our party (the school gym), our imaginations (and our texting) were on overload for a good 2 months.
To help focus the planning and organizing, we went with a patriotic color theme.Star-shaped paper plates worked as a backdrop to the 5th graders’ adorable kindergarten photos. These plates also helped divide the kids into small groups since each plate had a team number on it.
Generous parents donated their pop-up tents which served as “classrooms” in our gym. We hit up local thrift stores and consignment shops for props and all things classroom related. We shopped dollar stores, Goodwill, and even the home of Heather’s parents. We enlisted the help of some strong moms to find and borrow school furniture from an unused room in the building.
After their future Middle School Principal, the “Game Master,” announced the rules and objectives it was time to start.
Each room focused on a school subject matter and the students had to cooperatively solve a series of tasks and brain teasers in that room.
Our clues and tasks were printed on festive stationary from Heather’s shop, pulling the patriotic color theme into those classrooms.
The final task in each classroom led them to a code or a key, where the kids unlocked a box to discover a letter of the alphabet. 5 classrooms meant 5 letters were collected. Those letters spelled EAGLE.EAGLE. Pomperaug Elementary School’s mascot and the beautiful legacy gift that would live forever in the school’s garden. This Eagle sculpture that these students raised money for was revealed to them and it held the final clue.The final clue lead them to the concluding code hidden on their t-shirts that would unlock the red box that sat as a teaser in the middle of the gym.
The big red box that held 70 school locks.70 school locks for these (perhaps, slightly anxious) 70 5th graders that were off to Middle School to use personal lockers for the first time.
The excitement on these graduates’ faces once they “escaped” these rooms and earned a lock for summer practice was simply priceless!
Any great party has festive food and drinks too. The spirited snack table showcased some All-American treats like freshly made popcorn, lemonade, and even root beer floats.
The graduates enjoyed their treats while watching a video of memorable pictures from their elementary days.
And finally, the yearbooks were set up for the students to sign at the end of the party.I think these soon-to-be 6th graders left smiling, set for summer vacation, and ready to tackle middle school!
(And hey, Heather…we did it!!!)
Check out Respond if you please on Facebook!
T-shirts designed and made by Logoz Custom Apparel.