Forestville fun and games

MARQUETTE – Jessica Straczowski wanted to make at least one thing clear about Friday’s Forestville Festival.

“We’re not building community,” Straczowski said. “We’re building family.”

The teacher of German, health and special education at North Star Academy, located in Marquette Township, was one of the many academy “family members” on hand for its first-ever Forestville Festival.

The day, which was full of activities like bean toss, face painting, tug-of-war and others, allowed older students to mingle with younger ones.

“We do have a winter festival, but the parents and the teachers say we wish we would have that right at the beginning of the school year so our new parents and kids get used to our family,” Straczowski said.

The Noquemanon Trail Network allowed the academy to use its Forestville Trailhead facility.

“We’re trying to have a partnership with them that’s going to carry through the winter,” Straczowski said.

That would mean North Star could have healthy activities in the outdoor setting.

Friday’s festival truly was an effort involving the entire school. The high schoolers were either running the games or escorting the little kids, Straczowski said.

That’s something she wanted the new parents to witness.

“When we have new parents, then they’re kind of afraid of high schoolers because high schoolers simply have a bad rep, and so we want to make sure that they see how our high schoolers are with the little ones, because the little ones see our high schoolers as heroes and their protectors,” Straczowski said.

North Star senior Lucas Buruse helped run the potato races, which involved kids balancing small red potatoes instead of messier eggs.

The kids caught on fairly quickly, he said.

“It’s pretty fun, hanging out with all the kids and see them having fun,” Buruse said.

The potato races, at least at one point during the day, were the favorite activity of Quinn Saunders, 6.

“It lets me concentrate on things,” Quinn said. “I like to concentrate on my potato so it doesn’t fall.”

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.