A loop of video showing the Blue Angels soaring through the heavens was projected on a screen above the stage in the gymnateriatorium at Maryland Avenue Montessori, a Milwaukee Public School on the East Side celebrating 125 years in its current building this year.
Despite their speed and acrobatics, they couldn't hold a flame – blue or otherwise – to the aircraft soaring around the school's combined gym, cafeteria and auditorium after school on Thursday.
The K3-8 school's new Fathers Involved group arrived on the scene with its first event, a paper airplane extravaganza called "Airplane Excitement."
The dad's group has only met twice so far – drawing about 15 fathers to the first gathering – but it was at that initial meeting that the idea for the event was launched.
"We were looking for something that would be different and fun for everyone," says Maryland Avenue principal Joe DiCarlo, who helped get the Fathers Involved group off the ground.
Make no mistake, the community at Maryland Avenue Montessori is an involved one. There is a fund that raises money and meets monthly – it was a key player in getting the school's new rain garden done this summer – a School Governance Council – and, of course, a PTO.
There are dads involved in all these groups and in other ways – including the dad writing this posting, who (full disclosure) is chair of the SGC – but DiCarlo saw room for more involvement, especially among dads. While a visit to a school PTO meeting, for example, finds a turnout many schools can only dream of, the Y chromosomes are sparse.
Hopefully, Fathers Involved will encourage more dads to join the PTO, which works hard raising money and offering time, energy and resources supporting a wide variety of school programs.
Airplane Excitement showed great promise, getting the dads off and running with a bang. While they expected perhaps 15 or 20 kids to attend the event, a rough count made at the start showed at least 80 on hand. And more kept coming.
But the dads were prepared, having brought enough paper and other materials to supply every kid with multiple planes and still pack up leftover supplies at the end.
At four tables, fathers – and moms! – helped kids build planes in all different kinds of styles. Some kids totally free-styled it with some great results and sometimes not so great ones. But in the latter cases they often did some troubleshooting to make improvements.
Then they tried their planes out in the distance area, seeing how far they could fly and how making alterations affected the results. In another area, kids aimed their pulpy jets at hula hoop targets to test for accuracy.
During a halftime break, some kids showed off their work, explaining how they constructed their planes and offering test flights.
Some kids learned, hands-on, about aerodynamics, some just blew off some energy and others bonded with friends and parents. But everyone clearly had a blast.
I can't wait to see Fathers Involved focus some of their energy into joining forces with the school's other established support groups, to take their involvement to the next level, and I'm eager to see what Fathers Involved comes up with for its next event.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published July 28, 2015
Some details of the plan for the new development in the trio of National Ace Hardware buildings on 4th and McKinley have emerged, right as plans for a new arena and entertainment district across the street have taken steps forward.
Published July 25, 2015
One of the Milwaukee area's most interesting parks is a bit off the beaten path, but it's worth making tracks to Lizard Mound County Park in Farmington, just north of West Bend in Washington County. A wooded path twists and turns through 28 Native American effigy mounds, including the one shaped like a huge lizard which gives the park its name.
Published July 24, 2015
Green Lake is a place of superlatives. Here are eight of the many reasons to fall in love with Green Lake, which is an easy 90-minute drive from Milwaukee.
Published July 24, 2015
What a long strange trip it was. While theaters like the Downer and Oriental have venerable histories as long-running cinema houses, consider, if you will, the the more varied history of the now-dilapidated State Theater, 2616 W. State St. Originally a movie theater, the State has served a number of purposes - rock venue, prudish dance hall and strip club - in its nearly 100-year history.
Published July 22, 2015
There were about 500 people on hand to watch U2 at The Palms on April 15, 1981. The show was part of the Irish band's first U.S. tour. Here's a look back...
Published July 21, 2015
Come with me to see the progress on the restoration of The Pabst Mansion's third floor and also peek into the basement and attic, and experience the view from the roof of this Milwaukee landmark.
Published July 17, 2015
Milwaukee neighborhoods were once awash in movie theaters, as hard as that may be to imagine these days when you can count the number of non-googleplex cinemas in the city limits on one hand. While many are lost, a few remain. At 3804 W. Vliet St. is a former longtime carpet store that's been closed the past few years. But, originally, the building was home to The Lyric Theater, which operated from 1917 to 1952.
Published July 14, 2015
In 2012, I toured the surviving Alexander Eschweiler-designed Agricultural College buildings on the County Grounds, when their roofs gaped open to the stars - and the elements - and weeds encircled their exteriors. Despite talk of tearing them down, and an ongoing battle to save them from demolition, four of the buildings survive, even as six new apartment buildings are rising around them.
Published July 14, 2015
The WMA managed to get an alternative teacher-licensing track included in the omnibus that allows graduates from a program accredited by the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education, (MACTE) to apply for a Wisconsin state teaching license to teach in a public or charter Montessori school.
Published July 13, 2015
Last week, Milwaukee lost a talented, dedicated, hard-working historian. But when former Italian Community Center president Mario Carini died on July 7, at the age of 78, Milwaukee's Italian community lost a force of nature.