According to Warsaw Transportation Department’s Sheryl Cook, Warsaw elementary students have been visiting the Shrine Circus every year for over 25 years. This year, 650 children will board the bus to visit the big top with parent chaperones attending as well.
Warsaw students will gather from 8:30 a.m. to 8:40 a.m. at the Big R store in Warsaw and will be shuttled to the event on 14 school buses.
Syracuse Elementary School will be leaving at 8:40 a.m. and will be taking approximately 72 third-grade students and one forth-grade student who missed the event last year. There are approximately 26 teachers and parent chaperones attending the circus as well.
North Webster Elementary School will be taking two buses and leaving at 8:50 a.m. with approximately 87 third-grade students and 27 teachers and parent chaperones.
Milford Elementary School will be taking two buses at 8:30 a.m. with approximately 92 third-grade students and 12 teachers and parent chaperones.
The Milford and Syracuse buses will be meeting in Syracuse near the Wawasee High School and will be joined by the North Webster buses later in the route to form quite the caravan.
According to Milford Elementary School Principal Cindy Kaiser, “The majority of the kids have never been to a circus. There are curricular activities, discussions, and just the plain ol’ excitement of going somewhere new. They read non-fiction books about the circus, they write what they think it will be [like] and then again when they come back, they compare and contrast how a circus animal lives differently than the animal in its real habitat.”
Kaiser said the students will also talk about the circus families, their careers and how they learn. “In math they practice their graphing skills on how much the different animals weigh. They also learn about money [and] how much to take. They practice making change from a $20 bill,” she explained.
For careers, the students will also talk about the police and their role in the day. Social skills involve learning how to be in a large building, staying together and participating. “The fun part is just that they get to go, participate in the caravan, see the coliseum [and] the sight[s] and smells of the circus,” Kaiser added. “We at Milford School are very thankful for the Shriners and their organization of their special day.”
Wawasee third-grade students have been attending the circus since 1963. From the early 60’s through the 80’s the third graders wore felt beenies to identify themselves as a group. The students at Milford had white and blue beenies while Syracuse had blue and gold and North Webster had red and white. In the 1990’s the schools started purchasing painter hats – normally a neon type color for the all the Milford third graders. In the 2000’s the school has have switched over to T-shirts.