Originally intended to celebrate English-learners, eight years later the festival encourages family fun

Photos by Corey Evan
Acacia Middle School gave lovebirds a head start on their valentines cards.

■ By Corey Evan / Reporter

It seems these days like, despite technology trying to make our lives easier, we’re just getting busier and busier. This holds true both for parents and their kids, as many would observe. So each year when the Hemet Unified School District hosts their annual Family Festival, it’s a rare opportunity during the school year for families to unite for fun and support their school.
Formerly known as ‘Posada’, 2019 marks the eighth time the district has held this event on the campus of Alessandro High School. Once again hundreds filled the gymnasium, originally Bulldog territory, to play games, eat snacks, enter raffles, win prizes, and just have an unscheduled good time.
Leading this mission for fun was Carlos Navarro, Director of Equity and Community Outreach for HUSD: “The Family Festival started eight years ago, as a way to bring together the school site PTA’s, and their english-learner advisory committees. This is the way we want to show our support for our parents, by having them come together.”
Navarro says the best part about the event is seeing both kids and their parents enjoying themselves: “That’s what it’s all about.”
Coordinating the festivities this year was Navarro’s HUSD Parent Resource Center team:
Administrative Secretary Amelia Trinidad: “Just having the community here at our event and that they’re enjoying it,” made Trinidad happy.
Patti Ramirez helped advertise the event to the community: “Just coming together with our community,” was what Ramirez was happiest about here.

The Dartmouth Knights share their moves with the underclasses.

Parent Engagement Specialist Miriam Ortiz was happy to see families engaged in a good time here: “I just enjoy our families having fun, and having a relaxed time and enjoying themselves.”
Even HUSD Governing Board Member Gene Hikel dropped in for a good time saying, “We’ve been supporting the parent resource center every year, they’ve been a great asset to the community and I encourage parents to take advantage of it.”
In addition to Soboba dancers performing traditional numbers like those in the Ramona Pageant, students from around the district also took to the gym floor to show off their moves. The Dartmouth Middle School cheerleaders and Knight mascot helped teach a few moves to some of them, as well.
Each of the elementary sites present had some sort of entree, snack or dessert available for purchase, as did West Valley High. Acacia Middle School allowed families to create original Valentine’s Day cards. As far as games go, Harmony Elementary let students win treats by playing ping pong toss, Rancho Viejo gave away treats to their bean bag toss winners, and Dartmouth gave families a chance to play Plinko, just to name a few.
Also supporting the Festival was El Buen Sazon Catering, who set up shop at the Festival tonight to offer their own flavor to the community.
Powering the fun at this year’s festival were several generators, on account of the age of the gymnasium. But the event made more than enough noise to drown out said generators.
In case you and your family missed this year’s Family Festival, you are encouraged to visit hemetusd.org to keep up on other events HUSD has going this school year.

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