The sounds of spring filled the the air as the early morning clouds broke over Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy on Saturday, April 22nd. The San Francisco Shared Schoolyard Project had partnered with the Academy's annual Spring Carnival to kickoff the schoolyard being open to the public in grand fashion. The result: two bounce houses, a dunk tank, festival games, a clown, an animal show, plus more food than you could shake a stick at. Almost as soon as that music started playing, kids, parents, and faculty flooded the yard to try every game they could!
Any guest on the yard was immediately greeted with the sight of the enormous inflatable obstacle course. The colorful monstrosity never saw a quiet moment, and for the entire day the sound of laughing, squealing children could be heard within. Lining the side of the yard in front of the bounce track was an assortment of games - a miniature boat racing circuit, a ring-the-bull ring toss, and a Pinko! ball toss, a lane for putt putt golf, and a massive tic tac toe board. Further down, kids could be seen jumping on and around the tumble track set up by AcroSports, right next to the enclosed bounce castle, where the parents of some smaller children had ushered them. Across the yard, community partners set up shop. Camp Edmo talked to children and parents about their services and camps, while Bricks 4 Kidz brought a huge bag of Legos for kids to create with.
With so many great partners and games, the only thing that could make this carnival better would be a main attraction. Luckily, there were three! First, an animal show with chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, iguanas, a tortoise, and even a snake! When the performer asked for a volunteer, the crowd almost ran up to the animals right then and there. Throughout the day, there were intermittent Cakewalks where parents could play their own brand of musical chairs to win donated, home-made cakes! You can bet the parents were all over that. The biggest attraction, however, was the dunk tank. Everyone, from students, to parents, to faculty, clamored for a chance to send their 'favorite' teachers straight into a tank of ice cold water. For every successful sink, the crowd would answer, whooping and cheering for the massive splash!
At the height of the fun, we had our ribbon cutting ceremony, hosted by Supervisor Mark Farrell, Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, and Principal Ronnie Machado. All three formally thanked everyone for coming out and reminded them that the yard was now open to the public to use on weekends. Principal Machado also accepted a Certificate of Honor from Supervisor Sheehy on behalf of the Academy for their efforts in creating an environment where diversity and acceptance are celebrated.
The schoolyard at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. The schoolyard will be opened by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and cleaned by the San Francisco Department of Public Works. For any questions or specific information about the Shared Schoolyard Project, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.