The Thurston PTO sponsors a number of fun events throughout the school year intended to strengthen our Thurston community.
Welcome Back Meet & Greet
This back to school kickoff is a celebration of the upcoming school year. On this evening, families are presented with back to school packets which includes the long-awaited classroom placement. This event provides students with the opportunity to meet their new teacher and classmates before the new school year begins.
All students will have their pictures taken for the yearbook and class photo. There is no charge for students to take pictures. If you choose to order pictures however, there are a variety of packages available for purchase.
During this event parents will have an opportunity to learn about their child’s grade level curriculum, as well as classroom activities for the school year. Teachers will give a brief presentation, distribute educational resources, and answer questions. Parents will also sign up for the first parent-teacher conference of the school year.
Looking to connect with fellow parents, enjoy some coffee, and keep up to date on current school activities? Come join the PTO the Friday morning after the monthly PTO meeting for an informal gathering before the school day begins. Keep an eye on the newsletter for announcements of upcoming Coffee Club dates, times, and locations.
Black Tie Blue Jeans Fundraiser
An evening of fun, food, and bidding. BTBJ is a chance for Thurston adults to gather together to enjoy good company, good atmosphere, and good food while supporting Thurston PTO efforts. Both silent and live auctions will offer wonderful and unique local items, and one-of-a-kind experiences for you and your family. Get a sitter for this off-site event and come enjoy an evening out while you have fun with the adults you’ll be volunteering, interacting, and planning play dates with throughout the year!
International Walk to School Day
On this day we encourage as many students as possible to walk or bike to school (parents, too!). If you live outside the Thurston area but would still like to participate, you can drive to one of the neighborhood remote locations which provide a short walk to school.
The Fun Run is one of the school’s main fundraisers of the year. On the day of the event the kids will be running (or walking, or skipping, or jogging) to their favorite songs as they traverse a course set up on the school grounds. Prior to the event, students collect pledges for their run. The proceeds are used by the Thurston PTO to fund budget items such as providing fi eld trip transportation, teacher grants, building beautifi cation, and other school programs. All students participate in the fun of the run regardless of pledges received. There are also incentives for participation given to individuals and classrooms through the pledge process. The event occurs during the school day. All parents and relatives are encouraged to come and cheer for their child’s grade.
OHMHA Fall Festival
This neighborhood festival is organized by the Orchard Hills/Maplewood Homeowners Association (OHMHA). While not officially a Thurston event, many Thurston families participate in this celebration that takes place by the Thurston Nature Center (TNC) near the Orchard Hills Athletic Club (OHAC) Pool. This event hosts wildlife demonstrations and musical entertainment including performances by the Thurston school choirs. Activities, games and refreshments are available.
On Halloween, students are welcome to bring costumes to school and participate in an all-school parade. The costumes must be non-scary. No make-up is allowed, and the costume must be able to be worn over the child’s clothes. Parents are invited to line the route outside and take pictures. If families object to their children’s participation, there will be an alternate activity in the library.
Fall Teacher and Staff Appreciation Event
To celebrate the wonderful job that our teachers and staff do, a few PTO sponsored special events are planned for early November. Stay tuned to the newsletter for announcements on how you can participate in showing your thanks and gratitude.
The Turkey Trot is an event geared towards health and wellness (and fun!) Prior to Thanksgiving break, all of the school kids are invited to walk/run/stroll around a one mile course through the neighborhood. To keep it fun and upbeat, they will be following a giant turkey (a celebrity parent dressed up as a turkey). Parents and relatives are invited to cheer on the turkey trotters during this school day event.
All-School Ice Skating Field Trip
In recognition of all of the dedication and generosity that goes into making Thurston such a fantastic school, all students are invited to ice skating at a school-wide field trip to the Ice Cube. Parents are encouraged to sign up for a volunteer slot to help make this fun and exciting event a success.
Students display and present a science experiment/project on a display board in their classroom during this evening event. While 3rd through 5th grade are required to participate, grades K through 2 are welcome to participate as well. This event is in conjunction with the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Expo, an expo of student demonstrations/experiments to showcase their STEM expertise.
National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) is a national observance day with the goal of creating a more conducive learning environment for African-American students from kindergarten through college. NAAPID is the creation of the late Mr. Joseph Dulin, an insightful Ann Arbor, Michigan principal, who believed in encouraging parents to visibly demonstrate support of their children’s education on this day. At Thurston, we value the parent involvement made by all of our families. The goals of NAAPID are pertinent to every family, as the Thurston community is strong and filled with involvement, activism, and support.
Thurston families enjoy an indoor carnival in the evening with activities, games, and prizes. Classrooms throughout the school are converted into game/activity rooms, and students have the opportunity to play games and win prizes. Some of the fun activities include a balloon artist, a cake walk (where students can win a cake or baked treat), face painting, raffl es and food for sale.
New Book Sale
The Scholastic Book Fair is traditionally held on the same night as the Carnival. Working together with our Media Specialist, we will transform our library into a lively bookstore. The prices are the same as you would pay at the store and a percentage of sales are used to purchase library books. The books for sale are handpicked by the school librarian for children up through 5th grade.
Students are invited to audition and showcase their talents in this all-school event. Together with our music teacher, our principal Ms. Natasha York, selects featured acts for the show. There are several rehearsals the week of the performance, and acts are strictly held to two minutes. Performances typically take place during the school day. Parents are welcome to attend. In the past, students have danced, performed skits, magic tricks, jokes, played instruments, jumped rope, done gymnastics, and even demonstrated the Chinese yoyo.
The Thurston Play
This annual, original musical is a more than 40-year old tradition that started with a group of musical, comedy-minded Thurston parents. Now dubbed the Thurston Community Players, each year this group of volunteers comes up with the plot for a play, writes 16 a script, selects songs and writes lyrics, and choreographs dance numbers. A typical cast for a show runs to well over 100 actors ranging in age from 5 to past 75; many more people work backstage and in other production areas.
Auditions are low-stress; everyone who auditions gets a part as long as they are willing to work hard, be team players, and have fun. Auditions are held in October. Rehearsals begin in January. Performances take place in March over the course of three nights at the Clague Middle School auditorium. For more information please visit their website https://www.thurstonplayers.org/
During this exciting week, many “green” activities will happen at Thurston! Each grade is assigned a special project to complete. Past projects include making a butterfly trail that moves through eight different habitats in our own backyard, studying the water quality of the Thurston Pond, collecting and identifying invertebrates in the Thurston Pond and then discussing how this refl ects the health of the water, and identifying trees in the nature center and computing how much water each species absorbs in a year.
Thurston’s International Night is a school year favorite! It is a great celebration of the many countries, heritages and cultures at Thurston. The program begins in the multi-purpose room (MPR) where everyone gathers to watch the eagerly anticipated performances from all over the world. During this time, students showcase their culture, and amazingly choreographed routines on stage. Performers take great pride in sharing their heritage and are often viewed as celebrities of the night.
The next phase of the program includes a journey across the world, as families have the opportunity to visit classrooms, each representing a different country. Most rooms are fi lled with native artifacts, display boards, traditional music, and delicious foods to eat. Students receive “passports” which are stamped after they answer a question about each country. These passports are a great way to engage the children, and also make fantastic souvenirs. Wonderful aromas permeate the hallways with foods from all over the world, so do come hungry! This event is always completely FREE to attend.
Volunteers do many things from making food that originates from their native country, setting up displays about their cultural heritage, to helping students perform dances, musical numbers, or other arts related to their native country. Everyone is welcome!
Spring Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week
Thurston has the most dedicated and caring teachers and staff around. In an effort to show appreciation, a week full of activities and events are planned to celebrate all of their hard work. Families work together to donate meals, snacks, and classroom supplies for the teachers. To spread the much-deserved love, letters of gratitude and drawings are always encouraged.
Join us as we transform the school parking lot into a bike rodeo for all of the kids. Fun bike-related activities take place throughout the evening. The Ann Arbor police are there to teach the kids the rules of the road and lead kids around a skills and safety course. Mechanics from local bike shops are also on hand to give your bike a quick tune up.
Students in 2nd through 5th grades compete against 30+ schools throughout Washtenaw County in fun science events. With more than 2,500 participants each year, the Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad (WESO) is the largest elementary Science Olympiad in the country, and has been steadily growing since its inception more than fifteen years ago.
The Olympiad takes place at Pioneer High School where, on the day of the event, student teams compete in their chosen subject. Subjects are coached by parent volunteers, and vary from year to year, but recent examples include: pasta bridges, gravity racer, photon phun, and circuit wizardry. The event concludes with a medal ceremony.
Students learn that science can be fun, exciting, and challenging, and that the team spirit and good sportsmanship they develop can serve to be benefi cial throughout their lives. For more information please visit their website https://wesoscience.org/
Every spring we have a Field Day for the students during the school day. Field Day is a great opportunity for students to enjoy teamwork and fun outdoor games. All students participate in fun events such as, tug-of-war, slip-n-slide, soccer relay, water balloon toss, etc. Our physical education teacher plans and organizes the events.
Snow Cone Social
Enjoy an evening outdoors where students can participate in a variety of games and activities, face painting, bubbles, hand-made snow cones, and a delicious assortment of food from locally owned businesses. The Snow Cone Social is a great time for parents to connect with other families and reflect on the school year. All games and activities are free; snow cones and other food are available for purchase.
Used Book Sale
The used book sale is held on the same night as the Snow Cone Social. It fills the entire MPR with books of all genres, for all ages. Books are donated by Thurston families, as well as members of the community. Families and community members look forward to sifting through the plethora of reasonably priced books. Students are traditionally given a free book coupon and have the opportunity to select a book before the sale opens to the public.
End of School Year Clap Out
The last day of school is an exciting time for students and parents. Each year on the last day school, students are greeted by cheering families outside the building after half-day dismissal. Families and friends are encouraged to congratulate students and take pictures with classmates and teachers. Details on the last day dismissal procedures are given during the last weeks of school.