By Pamela Redford, Fort Riley Public Affairs February 24, 2012
FORT RILEY, Kan. -- Homemade chili and a good old-fashioned game of bingo were the staples of Ware Elementary School's annual night of fun for students, staff and their Families Feb. 17.
The annual event brought more than 130 people together in the gymnasium, according to Valarie Lamoreaux-Reist, Family support coordinator and Parent Teacher Organization president.
"It's an exciting and fun time, and it's great to see the parents spending time with their kids," she said.
Physical education teacher Stuart Schwarz said this is the sixth or seventh year Ware has participated in the event.
"It's all about getting Families together for a night of fun and communication over a good meal," he said.
Although the PTO sold tickets to offset the cost of the chili feed, the event was less of a fundraiser and more of a way to increase parental involvement, said Kristin Rodriguez, PTO vice president and mom to Maya, 4, and Gabriella, 6.
There are more than 700 students at Ware, Rodriguez said, but only seven active members on the PTO.
The Ware kitchen cooks much of the food for schools on post, Lamoreaux-Reist said, and this event gave Unified School District 475 Geary County School's dietary department another opportunity to show off its culinary skills.
Families dined on hot bowls of chili, baby carrots, cinnamon rolls and juice boxes, followed by bingo called by Schwarz and music teacher Susan Gillespie.
Nine Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division joined in on the fun by serving as bingo card checkers.
Prizes included gift cards, games like Yahtzee and Candyland, outdoor activities, toys, jewelry and candles. Donations were made by PTO members, teachers and staff and local businesses.