Highlands High School seniors kick off fall with annual festival

If you find yourself wandering around the gym at Highlands School deciding whether to go through the giant inflatable slide and obstacle course, or try your hand at a game of chance, you may be at Highlands School Fall Festival. The Parent Teacher Organization plans this annual soiree to raise money for caps and gowns for graduating students.

Operated by students and volunteers, the festival on Oct. 6 brought smiles to all ages. Sixth-grader Raquel Stiles said there were a lot of fun games and activities to choose from, but if she had to settle on a favorite it’s the inflatable obstacle course.

“It’s challenging and my brother does stuff like that in the Marines and I want to be like him,” said Stiles.

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A favorite of the Fall Festival at Highlands School on Oct. 6 was the inflatable obstacle course.

There were a plethora of games, crafts, candy, not to mention a haunted house with student actors. Inside the haunted house was a horrifying series of lights, costumed characters out of everyone’s worst nightmares and terrible sounds to make the hairs on the back of your neck raise. It was not everyone’s cup of tea.

“Yeah, I tried it (haunted house), but I didn’t make it all the way through. No way.”

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The inflatable slide caused this young man to dance the jig at the bottom.

Not only are there activities abound, but many people attend to get out of the house and socialize.

“It’s fun because you can come and hang out with friends,” said 6th-grader Alicia Chastain. “My favorite is the basketball game but the hardest is the football tire throw.”

Manning the intimidating and legendary football-tire throw is senior Mattson Gates.

“I have seen a lot of people throw tonight,” said Mattson. “Well, I’ve seen a lot of little kids throw and they are far better than me at this, and I can throw a football. I’m telling you, we’re seeing future athletes tonight.”

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Families enjoyed taking a hay ride with Highlands Fire and Rescue Chief Ryan Gearhart at the wheel of the tractor.

3rd-grader Jake Smith agreed with Chastain, the football-tire throw is not for rookies, but the rest of the festival, including the hay rides, haunted house, dunk tank, and inflatable obstacle course, was right on point.

“I saw a girl get dunked in the dunk tank, we ran around a lot, and I played a bunch of games and won a lot of stuff,” said Smith. “It’s a lot of fun.”

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Chris Green establishes some ground rules before assuming the position in the dunk tank.

There was a rotation of dunk tank victims, the first being Chris green. Highlands School Vice Principal Sarah Holbrooks saw the sights and heard the sounds of the fall festival for the first time on Saturday.

“From what I can see the kids are loving and enjoying it,” said Holbrooks. “Plus it’s a great way to raise some money for school. And the students are involved in the set-up and operation of it, it’s great.”

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A participant in the Cake Walk would like a clarification on the rules before the game continues.

Parent Teacher Organization President Laura Deppe said that if teachers volunteer at the festival then their classrooms also earn some of the proceeds so school staff were out peddling their games to festival goers.

“I think everybody has a great time,” said Deppe. “Kids have the freedom to run around and do their own thing. Plus the community up here is great and is so supportive of this.”

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Festival-goers had their faces painted and hair died by seniors who volunteered to work the festival.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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