As I entered the hallway, it felt like the elementary school vibe had been replaced with an art museum-like quality- creativity floating throughout the building. It was Family Art Night at A.M. Pate Elementary and an exciting energy could be felt from the smiles and laughter of the students and their families. Family events after school are not rare at A.M. Pate. The staff works hard to provide enriching activities, free of cost to families, and as the CIS social worker I am proud to be a part of the excitement.
Family Art Night was unique because of the variety of activities and involvement of each staff member. Mr. Cruz was teaching salsa dancing lessons in the science, Ms. Arrieche was creating an original painting by the cafeteria, Mrs. Layton and Mrs. Ambrose were furiously face painting in the hallway, and I was with Ms. Soncrant by the library encouraging students to create their own rings made from buttons and glittery jewels. Not only were the students lining up at the different stations, but their parents were, too, eager to take part in the activities. I felt privileged to meet my students’ parents and family members, and even better to have them be a part of what became our very own “art museum.” As an outsider from Dallas (which to individuals from Fort Worth is a different world), this event made me feel like a part of the A.M. Pate community.
My journey at A.M. Pate has definitely had its ups and downs because of the complex issues facing my students (which on some days seem to just multiply). Yet, my students demonstrate an amazing resiliency when given the opportunity to shine and when they are encouraged to be unique. Family Art Night was just the type of event needed to showcase the potential of my students who are sometimes overshadowed by others. Even if it was for just one night, the hallways (and permanent student handprints on the outside mural) still reverberates the exciting energy of the school community reminding students to “Keep Your Eyes on the Rise.”
Blanca N. Garcia, LMSW
AM Pate Elementary, Fort Worth, Texas
School Motto: “Keep Your Eyes on the Rise”