Heritage Elementary School’s 10th Annual Holiday Gift Fair & Open House
Heritage Elementary School held its 11th Annual Holiday Gift Fair and Open House on Thursday evening, November 16, under the guidance of Principal Veronica Farran. More than 1000 parents, teachers, administrators and elementary, junior high, and high school students, as well as other guests roamed Heritage’s brightly illuminated grounds. Guests were able to take in the delicious aromas of the various vendor foods, as parents followed the bright lights to their child’s classrooms to chat with teachers and search for their child’s displayed work. “I find so much joy in watching our families enjoying our Christmas celebration while exploring their children’s classrooms and spending time with one another. Our community truly does feel like family,” shared Mrs. Farran, Heritage’s Principal.
Several visitors took advantage of scheduled tours to see more of the campus. The Nestorovic family toured the new library on campus and heard from librarian Camelita El-Hayek on all the planned library activities. El-Hayek talked about the library facilities and showed off the large, soft rug upon which the children will sit to hear stories read aloud to them and also showed the abundance of new titles filling the walls of this spacious library.
Those parents who toured the classrooms learned that Heritage Elementary offers music, art, and physical education. Many schools in Escondido have reduced their offerings in these areas. “At Heritage Elementary we call these classes ‘Enrichment,’ and the kids really enjoy them!” explained staff member Leanne Megna.
There were delicious pulled pork sandwiches topped with cole slaw to enjoy from the Up in Smoke BBQ van run by Nick Bennett! There was exotic and mouth-watering deep-fried potato dumplings with Indian spices as appetizers and tasty jilebi, which is deep-fried dough dipped in saffron-flavored syrup from Varanda: Flavors of India restaurant in San Marcos by parents Varadarajan and Subhashini Sriram.
The Cakies Creations booth featured cupcake lady Kelly Pryor and cupcakes that were cupcake, brownie, and cookie all wrapped in one! Delicious! There were scrumptious beef and chicken tamales, the ever-popular churros, and even exotic Bavarian cream churros from parents Vanessa and Reuben Estrada of “Diego’s Doughnuts” of El Cajon.
Inside the Multipurpose Room (MPR) teacher’s aide Alison Bentley coordinated the Scholastic Book Fair which had almost an entire wall and bookcases lined with children’s books for sale. Vendor Cathy Menconi, seated at a red tableclothed table, offered English toffee. “The best toffee in town,” attested parent and business services agent Cynthia Inners-Noaker. Heritage Junior High School teacher Michael Brady donned a Santa suit and children quickly queued up to clamber up on Santa’s lap for photos by Jason Farran of F & L Media. Parents and visitors interested in stylish clothing had a corner of the room as a virtual boutique by LuLaRoe Veronica’s Visions. Those interested in locally produced, exotic jewelry had an opportunity to buy from Pattimac Jewelry right as they entered the MPR.
Mom Sarah Giron was strolling the busy green, playing field with her baby and kindergartner Amilia Giron in tow having just visited Miss Ochosa’s classroom. Asked her impression of the evening, she responded, “Fun! It’s exciting and well put together!”
“It’s awesome!” chimed in daughter Amilia.
ECHS students received community service hours for participating. Some helped man the booths to sell “fun foods” while others worked in the uniform store. Sophomore Matt Lopez donned the costume of Frosty the Snowman and cavorted with the kids. “Talking to the kids and having my picture taken with them was fun. I liked walking around and playing with the kids. When I wore the Frosty costume, I got hugs, but when I switched to the Grinch costume, the kids tried to pull it off me,” he laughed.
Speaking of the evening, Megna commented “It was a huge success that gave our community the opportunity to spend some time together and celebrate the holiday season. All of the Heritage Elementary staff participated in the event and had their classrooms open for parents and students to visit throughout the evening. We had an overwhelming number of vendors that requested to participate this year–so much so that vendors were located on the field and in the MPR. Thanks to all of our vendors, staff, students and parents who attended the event,” she added.
Kerry McDevitt, event coordinator, who also plans Family Fun Day, the school’s spring carnival, said “My overall impression is that this event gets bigger and better every year! We try to get new vendors every year and improve things. Principal Farran and I start planning around August. We try to get as much done ahead of time, as we can. The vendors are given a time that they can begin showing up and are very prompt. Hoping next year is even better!!! It is one of our favorite times of the year! It really gets you ready for the holidays! Our families love this event.”