At Hiatt School, ‘Twas the Night Before Winter Break

The East High bell choir performs at the community holiday party held at Hiatt Middle School.

At Hiatt Middle School, a dress code is standard operating procedure. Ordinarily the color scheme is khaki and navy blue.

But last night it was a special one that called for lots of red and white and elfin caps. Tis the season, after all.

Des Moines Public Schools partnered with the City of Des Moines, Urban Core, Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, Eat Greater Des Moines, Boys and Girls Club of Central Iowa and the East Bank neighborhoods to stage a holiday jamboree for elementary students and their families from Carver, Garton and Capitol View. Hiatt was the host school and East High School provided some of the entertainment by lending their bell choir and jazz band to the event. And students from Hiatt and East also supplied plenty of the volunteers who made it all possible.

The Neighborhood Holiday Party was intended to be family friendly and build community.

“We are excited about the event and look forward to making this an ongoing event in the years to come,” said Lyn Marchant, the DMPS Communities in Schools Coordinator for the East feeder pattern.

Those thoughts were echoed by Emily Boyd, Neighborhood Engagement Coordinator for the Community Housing Initiative.

“We’re hoping this event will bring families together, give them a chance to connect with one another and encourage a spirit of community,” said Boyd.

Approximately 1,700 invitations were extended throughout the Capitol East, Capitol Park and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway neighborhoods, whose associations have been working hard on plans to improve those areas. Last night was a chance to come together, meet neighbors and get connected through something everyone’s invested in – the schools.

There was a lasagna dinner in the cafeteria. Choirs and bells and jazz beckoned from the gym. The Clauses, Santa and his wife, were on site and receiving all comers for photos although it wasn’t clear if the jolly one was still taking orders from wish lists this close to the big day. He did scoff unequivocally at the deteriorating weather outside, saying that nothing has ever stopped him and nothing ever will.

Hundreds of donated winter clothing items were available for browsing in one of the hallways and a classroom was set aside for some seasonally apropos arts and crafts.

To sum up, with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore and sentimental, poetic types everywhere:

Twas the night before break and all through the school

Red & white elf caps were the uniform rule.

In there were the Clauses posing for pics.

In the gym a jazz band was getting their licks.

From the cafeteria then wafted the sauce.

The crowds told the weather, “we’ll show you who’s boss.”

There were teachers and students but the homework was light

The lesson was simple: to all a fun night!

Photos of the Hiatt Holiday Party

DMPS-TV Report on The Hiatt Holiday Party

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