When Williams Unified School District students showed up for Friday’s Halloween Carnival with their parents in tow, it put a smile on Kellie Ellebracht’s face.
Ellebreacht and her husband, Mark, moved to Williams from Tennessee about four years ago with their three girls, and they did what many parents do to enhance their children’s school experience – they joined the Parent Teacher Organization and volunteered.
“We came from a place where parents really get involved in their kids’ schools,” said Ellebreacht, a volunteer at the Williams PTO’s second annual Trunk-or-Treat and carnival. “So it’s nice to see so many parents here.”
Friday’s event, which included games, trick-or-treating, and inflatable activities, is just the sort of thing the PTO does for students and their families to come together in a safe environment and participate in a family fun activity, said organizer Marya Stoots.
“This is also a fundraiser,” Stoots said. “We can’t always give our students eveything the want or need, but it’s nice to be able to do things that are special. And it boosts the morale of our teachers.”
Stoots said the PTO’s primary goal is to bring special activities to Williams Unified students that are fun, safe and augments their education.
The PTO will bring a live animal education, awareness and conservation program to the campus on Nov. 3, the Mad Science Academy on March 2. There will also be a BMX stunt show scheduled before the end of the school year and other activities, Stoots said.
Several dozen families attended the Trunk-or-Treat on Friday with their children.
Outside, Williams volunteer firefighters Erik Knight and Nick Mayes, California Fish & Wildlife Game Warden Chris Stoots and others handed out candy from decorated vehicles, and DJ Kent Boes provided music.
Inside, PTO members provided food and beverages, and manned game booths for the kids.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Aaron Lewis, a third-grader at Williams Elementary, who favorite game was the Bungie Run. “It’s all really fun.”
Parent volunteers, however, were in short supply.
Parth Patel, 14, a freshman at Williams High School stepped in to help younger students play.
“It’s OK,” Patel said. “I wanted to volunteer. I do it for the community, and it’s fun too.”
Stoots said the PTO, like Williams Unified School District, continues to struggle to get parents involved in their children’s’ education and activities.
To try and boost recruitment, the PTO will hold a membership drive during the month of November.
Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s school for more information about joining the organization or volunteering in the classroom or during special events. ■