Maintaining a MicroSociety takes a collaborated effort among faculty, students and administrators. It also takes the support of the community to keep state-of-the-art equipment updated and functioning at the highest capacity for learning.
So when Chocachatti Elementary officials realized their theater sound system was in need of updating, the school got together all of its support. They began planning a Spring Gala to help raise the money needed through a fundraising event geared toward family fun.
Major family events aren’t something new for the magnet school. In fact, Chocachatti is known for its “Family Fun Fest” and “Winter Wonderland” events that help raise funds to keep the micros functioning for the year.
But this is the first time a Spring Gala has been planned, incorporating a variety of different attractions.
Kimberly McAuley, the micro coordinator at Chocachatti, said the event will combine a community yard sale, craft fair, business expo and a family fun zone complete with seven inflatables, carnival games, door prizes, face painting and more.
In addition, DJ Pond will be spinning the hits.
“We are trying to branch out into the community more,” McAuley said.
Businesses around the community were approached and offered a table at the event to promote and display their products or services.
McAuley said about 25 businesses have signed, offering everything from massages and party bookings to freebies and prizes. Businesses can sign up for the event through Friday.
One of the main highlights of the Gala is the Ford Vehicle Test Drive sponsored by Flammer Ford.
“Five Ford vehicles will be available to test drive,” McAuley said. Flammer Ford will donate $20 per test drive, up to $6,000, to the school.
One licensed driver per family can participate in the test drive. Each will also receive a ticket for a drawing for door prizes.
“The prizes are another enticement to stand in line and wait for the test drive,” McAuley said.
Chocachatti is “committed to providing a positive learning environment which integrates the creative abilities of children into the curriculum,” according to its mission statement. “Our mission is to provide children with learning experiences that will enable them to become productive members of society, of worth to themselves and others, by encouraging academic growth while developing aesthetic values in the creative and performing arts.”
Since musical theater is a huge part of that foundation, upgrading the equipment became a necessity.
“I have a group of musical theater parents who are working really hard to get the sound system done for this year,” McAuley said.
The current sound system is the original, installed when the school was built 14 years ago.
“We were told that, at the time, it was like a rock-show-type theater,” McAuley said. “But now it is outdated and needs to be replaced.”
Estimates for upgrading to the brand new system run near $20,000, which the school must raise outside of public funding. McAuley said the goal for the Spring Gala is to raise half that amount.
That number may not be out of reach, considering the generosity of the community even before the Gala takes place. The Brooksville Rotary Club already donated $200. And the Medical Executive Committee at Spring Hill Regional Hospital donated $1,000.
Entry to the Gala is free. Wrist bands are needed to participate in the “Family Fun Zone” and can be purchased through Friday at the school office for $10 in advance or $12 at the gate.
Food venders will be on-site, including a food truck with hot dogs, nachos, cheese steaks, pretzels and drinks. Marcos Pizza, Kona Ice and Calypso Kettle Corn will also be available for purchase.
Chocachatti’s Spring Gala runs from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call the school at (352) 797-7067. For information about signing up for the Business Expo, call McAuley at extension 206.