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Collegeville Serves Up Western Celebration
Cowboy hats, chaps, even a bandana or two could be found on the campus of Collegeville Elementary School on Friday, with the students, staff and parents enjoying the traditional 'Western Days' celebration to mark the end of the school year.

Karaoke was on the menu, along with a hot dog and hamburger barbecue for lunch, with students also able to take part in jump roping and other fun activities.

"This is a long time tradition here at Collegeville, and years going way back, they used to have fake calf roping, horses and all kids of activities," said Collegeville principal Bob Amato.

Parents were invited to join in the barbecue in the quad area, with students then having some fun singing or taking part in a massive group jump roping exercise.

Heading up the karaoke activity was Escalon Unified School District migrant service assistant Rosemary Garietz, who came in on a day she was not working at Collegeville to spin the tunes and man the microphone for students.

"She also was here for our Harvest Festival and it's really nice of her to do that," Amato said of Garietz setting up the karaoke system. "We've got some kids that love to ham it up."

Some of those will be on stage this week, in fact, when the school hosts its Collegeville Talent Show on Friday, May 28 at 530 p.m. in the school's multipurpose room.

Amato said sharing the end-of-year barbecue is a fun way to mark the school year winding down. He also pointed to the new school garden that was recently added on the campus as a learning lesson for all students.

"There's a drip system on a timer," he said of keeping the garden watered during the summer. "A couple of our English learner families will look in on it (over summer) and pull a few weeds.

"When we come back to school we should have pumpkins, corn, even some cherry tomatoes for the cafeteria. We just want the students to know where their food comes from."

Brothers Roman, 8, and Daniel Gonzalez, 6, were enjoying the barbecue on Friday with mom and dad, Cecilia and Ben Gonzalez. Cecilia is a PTA officer and said she enjoys activities like the barbecue.

Mom Zully Jasso, sharing lunch with son Arnulfo, a 6-year-old first grader at Collegeville, agreed.

"It's good," she said. "I like the hamburgers and the beans are really good. They're fresh made, that's why they are so good."