The Ballard Jamboree

My kids go to a school that has been in continuous operation since 1883. This historic little red school house was actually yellow when they first built it. These days, it serves as the kindergarten classroom. Over the years it has seen countless children pass through it’s doors, and more than its share of mothers crying as they leave their children on the first day of school. Some cry out of nostalgia, a few from separation anxiety, and others for joy and anticipation of a few hours of peace at last 🙂

The little red school house is the backdrop for everything we do at Ballard School. Every morning students in K-6th grade gather around the flag to say the Pledge of Allegiance while two students raise the flag and another two ring the bell in the tower. Some days, this simple ceremony can bring tears to my eyes. Especially now, as my son nears the end of his time on this campus.

This past weekend we gathered together for a fundraiser, a day of old-fashioned fun that included sack races, tug o’ war, pie throwing and the largest game of musical chairs you’ll ever see. It took weeks of work for parents to coordinate, plan, decorate, advertise, sell tickets and procure auction items. But in the end, we raised more than $50,000 to help the PTA pay for field trips, special assemblies, computer maintenance and a music program for our students. Keep in mind this is a school with only 118 students. Maybe since we only do this big fundraiser every three years or so, people are more willing to spend money to benefit their kids.

As for the kids, the Jamboree is just a day of fun. A happy memory of cotton candy and barbecue, games and friends, music and celebration. Hopefully, as they grow older and move away from our small community, they can look back fondly on days like this and appreciate how lucky they were to grow up in the little town of Solvang.

15 thoughts on “The Ballard Jamboree

  1. That's awesome you raised so much money. and I agree, I'd be more willing to spend more if it was only every 3 years. I feel like I am asked for money and stuff all the time! Almost to the point that I've shut down. What a great school.

  2. Sherrie, I am in love!! I want to be a Kindergartener at that school. This lovely place reminds me of my last teaching experience (and my first private-school experience). St. Matthew's Episcopal school ranged from preschool to seventh grade and had roughly 250 students. It's a sweet, tight-knit community, and you would often see the “big kids” interacting with the little guys, just as naturally as can be. I taught upper school and taught social studies to all fourth-through seventh graders. It was wonderful.

    We used to do our field day on the grounds of an old plantation called Ardoyne, which has been the backdrop for a couple of movies.

    Thanks for the memories today!

  3. Wow, that IS a lot for a “small” fundraiser! That's so awesome that your community is so willing to give for education. Wish more people were like that. 😛 Also, that school house is adorable. It's like right out of a picture book!

    It kind of boggles the mind that the entire school is only 118 people. That was considered a “small” lecture size at my alma mater. Haha.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is awesome. Do you guys ever have watermelon seed spitting contests at this kind of thing?

    I know it sounds kind of gross, but I have wonderful memories of going picnics to see watermelon seed spitting contests.

    Oh, and fifty thousand dollars. That is impressive.

  5. Your school sounds wonderful! And, yes, it's so hard to move onto the next step sometimes — especially with the firstborn. But it all (usually) turns out fine. And sometimes even better. 😉

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