Taste of Joyner brings neighborhood to the school

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Kindergartner Jack Beghtol has barely spent two months at Joyner Elementary School.
So Friday night’s Taste of Joyner event was a good opportunity for the 5-year-old to get to know his new digs a little better.
“The kids love it,” his mother, Ginger Beghtol, said of the event. “It has really helped Jack. It is his first year here, and it makes him like his school better. He was excited to come back here to play.”
The event was a fundraiser organized by the school’s Parent Teacher Association. Inflatables and games filled the school’s playground and its front lawn. Kids could pay $5 for a bracelet that gave them access to the various activities. Inside was a silent auction of items made or donated by students, as well as dinner plates.
“Everything has been great,” said Jane Clair Shettles, the PTA secretary who coordinated the event. “We’ve had a great turnout. The weather was perfect, and I’m overwhelmed with all of the volunteers. We have amazing parents at the school.”
Last year, the event raised more than $5,000, and organizers hoped to net at least as much this year. Joyner Principal Kimberly Foster said the school would use money from the event to add more computers, update other technology and work on projects, like the Discovery Garden.
The games carried an Olympic theme: a balance beam, long jump, football and basketball throw and soccer dribbling competition. There also was face-painting, bead-making and an obstacle course provided by Health Works!.
Abby Earwood and Gatlin Farrar won the two-mile kids’ fun run.
Among the volunteers helping coordinate the event were Milam Elementary’s Kiwanis Club and a group of Tupelo educators who are all working on their educational leadership specialist degree at Delta State.
“This provides an opportunity for our neighborhood to come in and see who we are,” Foster said. “We want this to be a fun place to be, and this gives us an interactive environment with our families.”
Jennifer Rivara brought her second-grade son and her 4-year-old son, who will be in kindergarten next year.
“For him, getting to come here with his brother and meet the teachers, he’s had a lot of fun,” she said.

Click video to hear audio