Fall festival raises money for Father Anglim Academy
Father Anglim Academy held their fourth fall festival in the Saint Andrews Catholic School parking lot on Saturday to help raise money for their students and school.
The Academy, which is a Catholic non-graded school for children who have special learning needs, was founded in 2002 in Fort Myers. Principal Lori Moreau said they currently have 70 children enrolled in the academy, with additional students on a waiting list.
Moreau said the fall festival is held every year to help raise funds, along with awareness for the school in a family oriented way that brings everyone together.
The day was filled with middle school and high school-aged students, along with parents manning various activities both inside and outside for members of the school and community.
The festival had many water activities to keep the children cool on a hot Southwest Florida afternoon, Moreau said because they sometimes do not know when to take a break from the heat.
“There are air-conditioned games inside and water games outside to keep them hydrated,” she said.
A dunk machine and water slide, along with a bounce house, food and other kid-geared activities were set up outside in the parking lot.
A cow pie bingo, staring Norm, held many spectators attention as they waited to see who had the winning ticket on Saturday.
Moreau said the idea of the game is for individuals to donate money for a plot of gridded land inside the fence. She explained that wherever Norm decided to make a “deposit,” the ticket with the right plot of land won $350.
The individual who held the lucky plot of land was called on the phone during the event by school officials to share the news of winning $350. During the phone conversation, Moreau thanked the winner for donating the $350 back to the school.
The inside activities had various interactive games for children, with the result consisting of choosing from a couple different containers of candy or pencils for their prize.
Moreau said their were probably close to 300 people who attended the event throughout the day, with the foot traffic of individuals peaking at 11:30 a.m. and staying strong until it ended at 4 p.m.
Dr. Deborah Silver, Father Anglim Academy advisory board member and school and clinical psychologist also attended the event on Saturday.
Silver said Father Anglim Academy “really respects the learning disabilities the children have.” She said after working in Fort Myers for 30 years with children who have learning disabilities, she now knows there is a great resource for the children at the academy.
“As a psychologist, it is great to know students with learning disabilities have a place to go,” Silver said. “The children find a home and a community where they are successful.”
“My heart is connected to this school,” she added. “It’s more than a school, it’s a community.”
Courtney Blackwell, parent of one of the students at the academy, donated her time to help with a ring toss game inside Saint Andrews for the first time on Saturday.
“It’s wonderful,” she said while encouraging a young boy to toss rings on giant bowling pins to win a prize.
She said she saw an excellent turnout during the festival with a lot more kids and things to do than she expected.
She said her daughter just began attending Father Anglim Academy this year.
“It is a fantastic school,” Blackwell said. “They have done wonderful, exceptional things for her.”
She said the staff has a ton of patience with the children and the academy provides small classes for them, which helps them a great deal.