Sixth-grade families get the scoop at Mohawk’s first ice cream social

Top: BSE kids Gavin Crehan and Matthew Herron play “People Bingo.” Above: PBL teacher Samantha Lydiard and ELA teacher Leanne Blaszak serve ice cream. “We’re having a great time,” Blaszak said. Then she corrected herself: “We’re having a ‘sweet’ time.” Center: Carlito Hernandez is considering Mohawk. Right: Sage Spitzer is a yes.
Top: BSE kids Gavin Crehan and Matthew Herron play “People Bingo.” Above: PBL teacher Samantha Lydiard and ELA teacher Leanne Blaszak serve ice cream. “We’re having a great time,” Blaszak said. Then she corrected herself: “We’re having a ‘sweet’ time.” Center: Carlito Hernandez is considering Mohawk. Right: Sage Spitzer is a yes.

MOHAWK—Families flowed in from BSE, Colrain Elementary, Sanderson Academy, Rowe Elementary, and Heath Elementary. One hundred fifty people mingling and on a quest.

“Do you like to dance? Do you play a musical instrument? Do you have more than five cousins? Do you speak another language?”
The game was “People Bingo,” and there were two versions: One for students and one for parents. Yellow and pink handouts gave 25 “icebreaker” topics each, and they got people talking.

(For parents: “Do you still have your Christmas lights up? Have you watched ‘Goonies’ more than five times? Did you attend Mohawk?”)
There was ice cream too, and plenty of it — Bart’s — with a rich variety of bring-your-own sundae toppings: sprinkles and Gummi Bears and hot fudge, of course.

Sean Conlon looks on as Mohawk Principal Lynn Dole introduces the ice cream social event plan at a recent School Committee meeting.
Sean Conlon looks on as Mohawk Principal Lynn Dole introduces the ice cream social event plan at a recent School Committee meeting.

And so went Mohawk’s first-ever ice cream social Jan. 29, an evening in the cafeteria just for the district’s sixth-graders and their families to meet each other and Mohawk’s family of seventh-grade instructors and students.

It was the first in what Mohawk Principal Lynn Dole described as a series of activities meant to show families all the ways they can be part of the Mohawk community.

“On March 3 we’ll have the more formal, ‘This is what you learn in seventh grade’ orientation, with questions and answers. Then ‘Seussical: The Musical,’ our all-school musical that will be staged on March 6, 7, and 8, where a lot of these fifth- and sixth-graders are starring, which is very exciting.”

At the end of May, Dole said, is the traditional Step-Up Day, which will be full of activities.

The ice cream social, she said, was for that first social connection, “getting to know other families of sixth graders who will become seventh graders; where they’re coming from small schools to what can seem like a big school but just what is really just a bigger community.”

Afterward, there were free tickets to the varsity basketball game taking place that night: Mahar visiting.

Dole said the social was the vision of Mohawk seventh-grade social studies teacher Sean Conlon, ELA teacher Leanne Blaszak, special educators Julia Lignori and Dianne Cerone, science teacher Jeff Johansmeyer, PBL teacher Samantha Lydiard, and math teacher Alyson Patch, all of whom, she said, “go above and beyond to build bridges between our elementary schools and our middle school.”

And the evening was a hit with families. Many alumni parents said they were delighted with this new effort. Other families said Mohawk had made an amazing first impression and was strongly in the mix.

Sage Spitzer, from Sanderson Academy, making her way down the ice cream line with friends, said she’s definitely going to attend Mohawk.

“This is fun. I’m looking forward to it,” she said.


— John Snyder, words and photos.

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