Monday, Sep 01, 2014
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Hernando students celebrate Halloween with monster mash


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Typically on Halloween the Chocachatti bus loop is invaded with a costume gala depicting every color, style and iconic character. And parents with cameras wait excitedly for their child to make it around the bend and pose for that annual shot.

But this year, something was different.

The bus loop remained quiet yesterday, but the cafeteria did not. For the first time in Chocachatti's 14-year history, the traditional costume parade was transformed into a Monster Mash, complete with a live DJ playing dance music, disco lighting and a room filled with very energetic students.

Lara Sylva, Chocachatti's principal, said the idea to break from tradition was actually suggested by the assistant principal, Cari O'Rourke, and voted on by students. "We asked random students what they thought of a Monster Mash dance. And they all wanted it."

The reception by students, parents and faculty was positive as each grade level participated throughout the day. Most students dressed in costumes and danced in groups to a crowd pleasing sampling of popular tunes by DJ Pond, a regular at Chocachatti who volunteers his time.

Kimberly McAuley, the Micro Coordinator at Chocachatti, was particularly impressed with some of the parents who came dressed in costumes and let loose on the dance floor. "They were dancing with their kids. It was fantastic!"

The parade idea of past years was eagerly set aside, said Sylva, because of the typical problems it generated. Because all students participated at the same time, there was a serious backlog of parking issues. And the event was lengthy as the entire student body marched together.

The Monster Mash, by contrast, was better organized because parents came during their child's session which was scheduled by grade level.

Chocachatti Elementary, a magnet school for the Performing Arts and MicroSociety, has pioneered a few different ideas in its history. The Monster Mash was just another example of the creativity of staff and students and the collaboration between the two to find better ways to educate and simulate the school.

It was a pilot idea and this year served as a test drive to see how it would be received. The consensus was overwhelmingly positive. "We will add little things each years," Sylva said. "We had a lot of good ideas."

"Every grade had a good time," said McAuley. "We wanted them to have a good time especially after such a tough week."

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