This year’s 3rd annual Hawkfest, held April 25, did not disappoint with about 2,000 attendees enjoying the Urbana High School campus transformed into a quasí festival, fair and amusement park. Activities ranged from new rides, such as the Mindwinder spin, to a pie-eating contest, inflatable games and laser tag. But the event did include some unexpected entertainment, courtesy of the weather.
“Snow in April?!” said Stephen Ward, English teacher at Urbana High School and the organizer of Hawkfest. “The weather presented a bit of a challenge, but the community still came out in full support. Not even snow could deter people from having fun.”
Many individuals and groups from throughout the community, including more than 30 clubs from UHS, helped to pull off this year’s Hawkfest. The Rho Kappa Honor Society chapter for Social Studies at UHS, among other clubs and honor societies, brought games and volunteers to assist. Ward said the success of this year’s Hawkfest can again be contributed to the work of the numerous teachers, parents and students who helped as volunteers.
“I worked at the National English Honor Society (NEHS) and National Math Honor Society (NMHS) booths this year,” said Julianna Greenberg, an IB senior at UHS. “At NEHS, we made bookmarks and read stories aloud to kids.” Children were able to cut out pictures from magazines and old books in order to transform them into new bookmarks that could be decorated with glitter and paint.
“For NMHS, we did an activity where kids could answer math questions to earn some candy,” continued Greenberg. They would answer math questions from their specific age group in order to have a chance to throw a ball into a basket. Once a basket is scored, the children would be able to receive a prize.
This year, additional attractions were located in not only the stadium parking lot, but also the field hockey practice field and gymnasium. The student-run activities were mostly located in the perimeter of the parking lot. For instance, the Muslim Student Association, run by Deborah Winkles, held both a pie-eating contest and henna tattoo station, conjunctly run with the National Art Honor Society chapter at UHS. All proceeds generated from tickets and wristbands — a grand total of $5,000 — from was donated to the Four Diamonds Fund to benefit children with Pediatric Cancer.
“I worked an inflatable game and puzzle,” said Emmanuel Apea, a senior at Urbana High School. “It was a lot of fun!” Apea worked for a Student Government Association (SGA) booth stationed in the field hockey field.
There were many different stations set up around the parking lot, and many students found ways to participate in Hawkfest in their own unique ways.
“I played requested songs on my violin for $1,” said Josephine Vallejo, a junior at UHS. “I would play the song by ear, and I got asked to play a wide variety of songs.” Requested songs ranged from “Uptown Funk” to “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Hawkfest marked the culmination of the end of the school year. There are already plans underway for next year’s Hawkfest, the fourth rendition of this noteworthy UHS tradition.
Editor’s Note: Sirad Hassan is a rising senior at Urbana High School.