The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

September 13, 2013

Good times at the academy

Students, parents enjoy Bailey open house extravaganza

BY CAROL ROEHM croehm@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — DANVILLE — Tracy Cherry’s booth at the Kenneth D. Bailey Academy’s open house and shopping extravaganza Thursday night was one of the most popular spots ... and not because she’s the academy’s principal.

Cherry’s Park Lane jewelry was a big hit with the teenage girls, and her cinnamon rolls were irresistible to at least one school board member.

“Girls love jewelry,” Jalyn Dampier explained of her and her friends’ fascination with Cherry’s sparkly goods.

Cherry let the girls look through piles of jewelry she placed out on her table.

Teyannah Erving said she liked it all.

“I like the bracelets and the earrings and the ankle bracelets,” Teyannah said.

Miya Smith said the earrings and necklaces were her favorites.

School board member Steve Bragorgos said he was “excited” about trying a jar of rhubarb jam he bought at the shopping extravaganza, but then he stopped in his tracks when he saw an aluminum foil tray of large homemade cinnamon rolls Cherry had baked.

“It’s a secret,” Cherry said with a smile when asked about her recipe.

The second annual event at the academy at 502 E. Main St. allowed the teachers and the programs’ middle school and high school students to share their school with the community while raising funds for extracurricular opportunities.

The open house and shopping extravaganza offered food and activities for families, including 23 local vendors that were set up in the gym for guests to shop and receive information during the event.

Several of the vendors were new this year and sold jewelry, knitted items and handmade items.

Melinda Miethe, a high school teacher at the academy, said the school was grateful for the numerous generous donations it had received for raffles and a silent auction at the event.

“We’ve had an abundance of donations. We received a lot of donations from new donors, and we’re so grateful for them,” she said.

The plentiful donations allowed the academy to have nine raffle prizes and 13 gift baskets for the silent auction.

Steve Strader, who was accompanied by his 3-year-old grandson Braxton Butler, signed up for some of the gift baskets in the silent auction, including one that caught his eye.

“I saw ‘golf’ in there, so I had to bid on it,” he said. “There’s a Danville YMCA package in the basket too, so I know that’s probably something there I would like.”

He also spied some coupons for cheeseburgers in the basket.

“Golf and cheeseburgers, yay!” he said.

Also inside the school, a variety of carnival-style food was served, including pizza, hot dogs, chips, popcorn, cotton candy, soda pop and water.

Outside, students enjoyed dunking their teachers and fellow students in the dunk tank, and members of the student advisory board offered face painting.

Mi Joi Bouin carefully applied paint with a makeup applicator to one little boy’s face.

“I did, like five,” she said of the number of faces she painted, adding that the heart with an arrow was her favorite design to paint.

The cakewalk was a popular attraction with students and parents alike. Students could earn volunteer service credits for contributing store-bought baked goods for the cakewalk.

Nine-year-old Caleb Kelly was all smiles after winning a cakewalk and picking out a lemon-lime crème cake to take home.

Penny Acree said she let her son, Troy Driver, 11, pick out the cream cheese iced brownies after he won a cakewalk, too.

This year’s event was to feature two bounce houses, but an hour into the affair, the bounce houses had to been taken down because it was too windy, Miethe said.

The purpose of the open house and shopping extravaganza was to raise money for the academy to be used for items the school needs and for the activity fund so students can go on field trips.

Part of the money also was earmarked to go toward purchasing a poster-making machine. Some of the academy’s students have shown an interest in that trade, and if the school had a poster-making machine, the students could make posters for all of the schools in the district and sell them to them to raise more money for the academy.