Hundreds down picnic favorites to promote community at barbecue

September 21, 2010

By Christopher Huber

Photos by Christopher Huber Above, eighth-grader Nicholas Meinhofer (left) ladles barbecue sauce for a student, while parents mingle (below) in the cafeteria during the annual back-to-school barbecue Sept. 10.

Eighth-grader Nicholas Meinhofer (left) ladles barbecue sauce for a student, in the cafeteria during the annual back-to-school barbecue Sept. 10. Photo by Christopher Huber

PTA volunteers greeted them, handed each a small plate and student leadership class members served pulled pork, coleslaw, root beer floats and other barbecue elements.

The annual back-to-school barbecue serves to introduce the incoming sixth-graders and their families to the greater BLMS community, said PTA co-president Deb Smith. Although it is focused on welcoming the younger students, the event was open to everyone. In all, roughly 450 people showed up to dine in the Beaver Lake cafeteria.

This year’s barbecue was extra important, Smith said, because of the shuffling of attendance boundaries.

“It’s the first time for the sixth-graders that they have friends not from their neighborhoods,” she said. “Anytime you build community and pride in the school, kids have more sense of belonging. It’s a good chance for parents to meet, too.”

Smith and others were impressed with the overall turnout. She said there were more seventh- and eighth-graders than usual.

As families settled into the lunch tables, parents mingled and many of their pre-teens buzzed around the open space in front of the stage. A disc jockey led interactive games and other students hopped outside to pet Buddy 2.0, the school’s live mascot — a bulldog, whose owner, Patrick Ford, teaches at the school.

“My general vibe is Beaver Lake has a uniquely good grasp on the general level of raising kids and educating kids,” parent John Haile said. “The spirit of this is so right on.”

Haile, who has one child at Beaver Lake and one at Endeavour Elementary School, said he has overall been impressed with the district’s promotion of community involvement.

“Success is predicated on involvement,” he said. “The barbecue just gave every kid that’s here an extra 10 points on their next test.”

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or Comment at

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