Students, parents, teachers, and guests from Quest Charter Academy, Metro Charter Academy, Taylor Exemplar Academy, and Taylor Preparatory High School recently came together for NHA Skate Night.
It didn’t matter if you were a seasoned skater or a novice, all ages and experience levels were welcome. Stephanie Sauve from Quest planned the event with help from Shelby Gregory from Taylor Exemplar.
Gregory explained the collaborative effort, saying, "We consider ourselves Team Taylor because our schools are in close vicinity. So, for our NHA Night, we invited all our schools – Quest, Metro, Taylor Prep, and Taylor Exemplar."
More than 500 people took part in the event, laughing and connecting with families from neighboring NHA schools.
Sauve emphasized, "The parents could skate, too, if they wanted. We had a lot more dads show up than usual. It was a family-friendly event, and the parents enjoyed it."
To add to the excitement, the organizers held a raffle for those who brought friends from non-NHA schools. Winners had the chance to receive memberships to places like the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum or the Detroit Zoo.
The popularity of the $5 skate night exceeded organizers’ expectations. Gregory noted, "I had 82 families show up, and there were even more from the other schools. It was a full house, a fantastic turnout."
The ultimate objective, according to Gregory, was to “get the families to know each other on a personal level, so when they're in school, they're more likely to be kind to each other."
The rink also kept track of which schools the skaters were from, allowing each school to receive its share of the admission proceeds. Organizers say the money raised will be used for future events.
Both Gregory and Sauve said everyone seemed to have a great time. Sauve emphasized, "The parents loved it. It was a cheap night out for the kids, and they even got free glow sticks." She also added that it was wonderful to bring families together for a night of fun and camaraderie.
Even the non-skaters enjoyed it. At the end of the night, there was dancing to the “Cha Cha Slide” and “Cupid Shuffle.”
Organizers say because the event was such a success, they plan to do it again next year with a few changes, including dividing it up by age groups for an even smoother experience.
About Taylor Exemplar Academy
Taylor Exemplar Academy is a free public charter school in Taylor, Mich., serving students in Young 5s through 12th grade in partnership with Taylor Preparatory High School, a school that falls under National Heritage Academies (NHA) portfolio. NHA is a charter school management company in Grand Rapids, Mich. which has more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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