Elementary-age kids and high school students share something in common.
They all enjoy escaping the classroom for a day of fun, food, and friendship.
They did just that Thursday, May 23, as Solanco High School hosted its 15th Ophelia Day, a celebration where students from Solanco School District elementary schools visited the high school and "buddy up" with high school students.
More than 180 elementary school students who face special challenges are invited to watch skits and participate in games, a bounce house, and face painting.
"Ophelia Day is a reward for the hard work they have put in and success they have had," said Lindsay Capoferri, a Solanco High counselor who is the Ophelia Club advisor.
"It's a day to reward the kids for the everything they go through by providing them with fun activities for the day," said Solanco junior Christina Cylc, one of the student leaders of the Ophelia Club
Carole Clancy, Pupil Services Director for the Solanco School District, says the elementary school students aren't the only ones who get something out of the day.
"Solanco is unique in how inclusive they are," Clancy said. "This is just one example. Ophelia Day provides a mutual benefit for both the younger students and the high school students who serve as role models. It's something the younger kids look forward to all year. The high school students practice leadership skills and get experience organizing events. It's student-initiated, student-created, and student-operated."
Junior Williams, 8, a student at Providence Elementary, enjoyed the day with his buddy, Jake Frampton.
Williams had his face painted like a cow. "So I can go 'moo' all day long," he explained.
Junior's favorite activity was the races. "I even beat [Jake]," Williams said. "He was almost faster than me but I beat him."
"It's a fun, energetic day," Frampton said.
Solanco High's Ophelia Club raises money throughout the year to fund its charitable projects including Ophelia Day. The organization has sold candles, chocolate, and pot pies to generate money.
"The Ophelia Club is a service-oriented group that works to build confidence and build relationships through service," said Capoferri.
The Ophelia Club performs service activities throughout the year, including making crafts with elementary students in multiple disability classes, visiting the senior center, and organizing the Angel Tree program.
The Ophelia Club also helps the school's Young Educators of America (YEA) with Halloween Hallways.
The YEA collaborates with the Ophelia Club on Ophelia Day.
There are between 40-50 members of the Ophelia Club. Every high school student is invited to participate in Ophelia Day festivities.