DALLAS — Morrison Campus Alternative School leadership teacher Charlotte Vidrio was so proud of her students Friday that she had to take a photo of what they were doing.
Three of her students, Jadon Slyh, Jake Howard and Michael Contreras, were in the middle of planning the layout for the annual Trick `n Treat festival. Each year, businesses and organizations are invited to set up tables at the Dallas school to hand out candy and prizes to trick-or-treating children.
The trio proposed a space-saving setup for the expanding festival, and Vidrio was impressed.
“You’ve done a very good job here,” Vidrio said. “I’m going to take a picture because you’ve done such a good job.”
After she snapped the photo, the boys went to find a tape measure to see if their idea would work in the school’s gym, which will play host to about 600 children on Halloween.
“Honestly, they are able to put this kind of stuff on their resumes. They are working together. They are learning how to work with other people’s personalities, cooperate. They’re problem-solving,” Vidrio said. “They are especially figuring out how to design something when things aren’t working right and start over again. That’s my favorite part of this project.”
Trick `n Treat is a partnership between the school and the Dallas Area Visitors Center. This year, the pair have turned planning for the event into a mini class. DAVC Events Coordinator Shelly Jones meets with the class on Fridays to teach the basics of event organizing and marketing.
“They’re creating budgets and time lines and getting sponsors and marketing and all that kind of stuff,” Jones said. “I’m kind of just overseeing it all for them.”
She said the group is making good progress.
“I got here today, and they were so far ahead of the game. I can breathe easy now,” she said. “There’s some exciting new plans coming and things that are a little different.”
The students are planning to build a haunted house and host a number of games for kids to play before or after they go through the booths in search of candy.
Students Ellissa Hocevar and Emily Cserepes were busy planning fun Halloween-themed games.
They had a running list, including pin the eyes on the pumpkin, doughnut on a string, guess the number of candy corn, a costume contest, and a game similar to bobbing for apples, except with whipped cream and Smarties.
“Whoever gets the most number of Smarties first wins,” Cserepes said.
Hocevar and Cserepes said they are learning about managing a budget and how much work it takes to properly plan an event.
“I’m pretty excited, but I’m anxious because there’s going to be a lot of kids and, like, barely any room,” Cserepes said.
“Yeah, but they’re cute,” Hocevar replied. “One girl was dressed up like a little strawberry, and she was adorable.”
Vidrio said her class is centered on having students recognize their strengths and develop problem-solving skills — and see what they are capable of when they work as team.
“They take pride and ownership because when the community comes in, they get to say I did this whole thing,” she said. “This is a big family, and you get to be part of it and you get to see what we did.”