Fall Festival at Achieve Academy
by Cayman Bentley, PVF Communications Assistant
PVF’s Program Officer, Savannah Lira, and Administrative Assistant, Cayman Bentley, recently visited Achieve Academy in the East Oakland to attend their Fall Festival, funded by the Youth Joy and Wellness Fund.
We were invited to visit Achieve Academy by Renee Corbie, a guest paraeducator at the school. The Fall Fest featured tons of fun activities for all of the kids to enjoy, which included pumpkin racing, trick or trunks, a reptile room, and more!
The fall fest also included a reptile room, in which a professional reptile wrangler allowed students to pet and hold different reptilian animals like snakes, lizards, bearded dragons, and geckos. The students were able to gain access to the room by using their gator bucks (the school’s mascot is an alligator), which they earned by having good behavior during class.
For many students, this was their first time encountering a reptile and learning about animals up close. When we entered the room, Principal of Achieve Academy, Shawna Myers, was assisting the reptile wranglers by holding different animals for students who were still shy about being so up close with the creatures.
Teachers and parents also came together to volunteer their vehicles for the trick or trunk portion of the fall festival. The neighborhood around the school doesn’t see a lot of trick or treating activity so the school made it a point to create a safe space for students to have a Halloween trick or treating experience. There were 6 cars, each uniquely decorated with different types of candy for the kids to enjoy.
Achieve Academy is located in East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, which almost of all of the students reside in. The neighborhood is low-income and many of the students, who are of color, don’t get to have many exciting experiences outside of school, so this was very heartwarming experience to witness.