AHS senior successfully organizes annual Harvest Party
August 27, 2008 · Updated 5:22 PM
ARLINGTON The second-annual Harvest Party at J. Rudy York Memorial Park in Smokey Point, Oct. 7, was memorable not only for its pumpkin-painting, cookie-frosting and other Halloween-themed activities, but also for the fact that it was organized by a student at Arlington High School.
Jennifer Donegan was casting about for a senior project when Wendy Patterman, a physical education teacher at AHS, who also works as a volunteer commissioner for the city of Arlingtons Parks and Recreation Department, suggested that she take on the task of putting together the Harvest Party.
Patterman connected Donegan to Sarah Hegge, coordinator for the Parks and Recreation Department, and watched as Donegan used her budget of $300 from the city to order items ranging from pumpkins and prizes to food and decorations.
Donegan, in turn, credited donations by local bakers with helping her stay just barely within her budget, while also thanking her peers in the AHS National Honor Society for volunteering their services on the day of the event, and likewise praising Pattermans mentorship and Hegges aid in matters such as ordering helium for the balloons.
I couldnt procrastinate because I had a deadline that the whole city was counting on me to meet, said Donegan, who started planning for the event last spring and wish[ed shed] done a better job in advertising it.
Dont let her sell herself short, Patterman said, in response to Donegans criticisms of her own performance. She did just fine in advertising the Harvest Party. We have families here from Arlington, Everett and beyond. Im seriously thinking of having a student organize this event for their senior project every year. It really goes a long way toward giving them experience in community service.
Hegge reacted positively to Pattermans idea, admitting that such a move took a lot of pressure off of me this year, while echoing Pattermans approval of Donegans results. Even Donegan herself deemed the Harvest Party a success and a good experience.
Corrina Lawson, who came all the way from Lake Stevens to let her sons play with their local cousins, commended the Harvest Party as a really great time and fun for the kids, just as she complimented the small-town feel of the event.
Melody Thornton lives just down the street from the park, but she hadnt attended last years Harvest Party. This year, both she and her sister, Mindy Rigney, were able to participate in the event since Rigney just so happened to have traveled from her home in Greenfield, Ind., to visit her sister in Arlington.
Its our last day here, Rigney said. My kids wont want to leave now.
I didnt even know this was here until we received the flyer in the mail, Thornton said. Im definitely bringing my daughter back next year.