CLARKS SUMMIT — Students, faculty and the entire Abington Heights community on Friday had the chance to “Meet the Comets” at the school district’s annual Back-to-School Carnival at the high school on Noble Road.
The free event featured games, club exhibits, a photo booth, face painting, a dunk tank where students had the opportunity to dunk some of their favorite teachers and administrators, live entertainment and even a haunted house. Refreshments were available for purchase from Metz Culinary Management of Dallas, the district’s food service provider, as well as from Duffy’s Coffee House and popular local food trucks such as What the Fork, Southwest Savory Grill and Manning’s Mobile Ice Cream Shoppe.
In addition to the usual carnival games, students and teachers added their own unique touches to the evening. High school English teachers Cyndi Roe and Marilyn Pryle manned a “Spontaneous Writing Booth,” where they wrote one minute poems for students who stopped by. AHHS senior Nadeen Jafar was on hand to tell fortunes and read palms, a skill she said she learned on the internet. Entertainment was also provided by students, including Jessica Chopko, Alyssa Lazar and James Barrett.
According to high school principal Pamela Murray, more than 200 students helped plan this year’s event. “They took time out of their schedules all summer to really make it a success,” Murray said.
The evening was capped off with the introduction of the Comets’ fall sports teams as well as the district’s mascot, Comet the Bear.
Abington Heights High School’s National Honor Society coordinated the event, along with the aid of parent and student volunteers. National Honor Society President Anisha Mallik said they started planning the event in June, and were able to garner the help of more than 15 school clubs and organizations, including the Karate Club, the Cruzin’ Comets Robotics Team, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), the Comets Football Fan Club, and more. Local fire departments were also at the carnival to give fire truck rides.
Mallik, who is a senior, said the carnival was a chance for the community and the school to come together. “We really want to integrate Abington more into the community,” she said. “We want to show the community that we’re here to help.”
One new way students hoped to help the community this year was through a balloon launch. Participants were asked to write their worries or fears about the upcoming school year on a slip of paper. The paper was then attached to a balloon, which was then released into the air in hopes that the worry would also be let go. The balloon launch was hosted by the Abington Heights SADD chapter.
Assistant principal Andrew Snyder said the district has held the carnival annually since about 2011, and the event continues to grow every year. “We ask so much of the community all year long,” Snyder said. “This is our opportunity not only to give back to them, but also to kick the year off on a positive note.”
Abington Heights School District returns to school on Sept. 9.