10.25.2019 - 2:31 PM - Lauren Lallemont

On Tuesday, October 29, from 5-7 pm, Prentice Elementary School will be hosting a Totem Pole Family Night. It’s a great opportunity for the elementary students to come in with their families to enjoy a Taco Bar and start to create their part of the Totem Pole. “Totem poles tell a story and represent different cultures and beliefs. We would like our classroom totem poles to tell our own story about our families,” Michelle Hlavacek, the district’s Family Engagement Coordinator, stated. 

Each family will be given materials to create their section of the Totem Pole. “The Totem Poles are meant to represent themselves, and their families will also be around to help them design what they think represents them,” Hlavacek said. They will be given around an hour, about 5:45-6:45, to design and create their part of the Totem. Each student will also get a book about Totem Poles for them to take home with them. Each grade has selected a theme to give to their Totem. An example would be the first grade class. “My first grade class's Totem Pole theme is Pond Animals because I got married this year and now my name is Mrs. Pond,” the first grade teacher, Hilary Pond, explained. After each class completes their Totem, they will be displayed within the classrooms. 

As the kids go on throughout their school careers, they will be able to carry these Totems with them. They will be passed on to the next teacher at the end of the year, so this way they aren’t lost or accidently wrecked. Then the Totem Poles will be there and ready for them when they start school the next year. Even when they go on the stage when they graduate, their Totems will be with them as well. If new students come into grade at any time, they will also have their own opportunity to add their own personal touch to the Totem Pole. “It’s just a great way for students to feel like they're a part of their class and feel connected,” state Hlavacek. There are also intentions to have three more family events throughout the school year. This provides a lot of good opportunities for families that didn’t get to attend the first family night to join on the next. Hlavacek also noted that she plans on working with Jackie Franzoi, Prentice School District’s School Counselor, on creating an event for the Middle School and High School. “Maybe nothing to do with Totem Poles, but maybe a project that they would be interested in. It’s just something for the community to get involved with,” Hlavacek noted.

After the Totem Poles are completed at the end of the night, there will be time for families to go around and visit all the Totems that were created throughout the night. The gallery walk is going to be around 6:45-7:00, and this is how the event will end. If a child and their family, unfortunately, aren’t able to join the rest of the elementary on this fun family event, then materials will be sent home with the child, so they can still be presented with the chance to create and contribute their own touch to the Totem Pole.