Have a ball: MVES hosts annual back to school celebration

A Thompson High School baseball player throws a ball to a Meadow View Elementary School student at the second Have a Ball with Learning event on Aug. 30. (Reporter Photo/Keith McCoy)

A Thompson High School baseball player throws a ball to a Meadow View Elementary School student at the second Have a Ball with Learning event on Aug. 30. (Reporter Photo/Keith McCoy)

By CLARKE STACKHOUSE/Staff Writer

ALABASTER — Meadow View Elementary School celebrated the start of the new year with Have a Ball with Learning on Aug. 30.

Reading Coach Heather Reeves and first-grade teacher Michelle Brakefield said they were excited for the second year and how much the event has grown.

The school received around 1,100 reservations for the celebration, and the crowd filled the school and outdoor play areas throughout the night.

“Last year we had around 800 people come out,” Brakefield said. “This year we got responses back for 1,100 people to attend, we’ve had a great response from the parents and the community.”

Reeves said they sent out a registration form in the students’ take-home folders and let parents know about it through social media as well.

“We know forms don’t always get home to parents through the kids,” Reeves said. “We wanted to make sure everyone had a chance to come and advertised the event on our social media pages. The PTO helped a lot by spreading the news through word of mouth.”

The school was filled with students and parents enjoying a free dinner, athletic events and a swag bag filled with educational materials for the students.

Brakefield said they originally got the idea after attending a leadership seminar at the University of Alabama last February and proposed it to the school principal and started planning in May.

She said they decided on the sports theme to try and incorporate more dads into coming out and enjoying the night.

“We have so many moms involved with the school and PTO, and we wanted to do something that might interest the dads as well,” Brakefield said.

She said they contacted the Alabaster City Schools athletic director Vince Pitts and he invited the Thompson High School teams to play with the MVES students. The THS girls and boys soccer, girls and boy’ basketball and the boys baseball team set up stations in the gym and outdoor areas.

“The kids at this age look up to the high school students like rock stars,” Reeves said. “The coaches just said ‘Tell us what time and tell us what to do and we’ll do it.’”

Reeves and Brakefield said the celebration would be impossible with the support of the school board, community, local sponsors and the MVES PTO.

PTO member Juanita Sims said she loves attending the event with her son and daughter and was happy they were continuing it.

“I love that they do this,” Sims said. “We have an awesome community and a great school and this night is just so much fun.”

Reeves and Brakefield said they wanted a night for the kids and their families to welcome in the new school year and have a fun, safe night together.

“We want to be able to show our parents our gratitude and give them a warm atmosphere to enjoy a fun family night, ” Reeves said. “We’re so happy with the response we’ve had and can’t wait to do it again next year.”