By Elliot Eton ’14
Students, teachers, and parents alike attended the 61st annual BB&N Circus on the Lower School campus. Decorated with towering balloon structures and featuring a mariachi band, the May 5 event celebrated Cinco de Mayo and featured activities like a raffle, a dunk tank, a mechanical bull, moonwalks, and live teacher and student performances among other activities.
Primarily organized by parents, the Circus benefits BB&N’s financial aid program. The total amount raised has not yet been finalized. The emcee for this event, Karen Fabbri P ’21 ’23, says that parents serve volunteers to give back to the community. “Volunteering for this event is a fun and easy way to give back to the community. Volunteering for just one day of the year can help the school and bring one closer to the community.”
According to Henry Ritter ’14, students who have graduated from the Lower School also help because of their fond memories of the Circus. “I went to the Circus every year as a kid, so I enjoy volunteering,” Henry says.
Ardi Hakimi and Tynan Friend (both ’15) volunteered because they thought it would be a good opportunity to practice their DJ skills and give back to the community.
Corrine Nagy P ’24, ’25, a volunteer the raffle, says, “We first came up with different donation themes for each class of the lower school such as ‘Arts, Crafts, and Cooking’ for Beginners and ‘Entertainment, Music, and Electronics Galore’ for the fourth graders. The students then donated various goods, and we assembled them according to their theme in large baskets and raffled them off through two dollar tickets.”
In addition, BB&N teachers and coaches contributed goods and activities to an auction. Fifth-Grade Homeroom Teacher John Denny-Brown auctioned off a one-day kayak adventure, and Woodshop Teacher Candida Monteith auctioned off a brownie sundae party for the winner’s entire homeroom.
At the dunk tank, students were given three chances to hit a target and plunge a sixth grader into a pool of water. Kim Chan P ’14, ’18, says, “We’ve seen students from Beginners all the way to high schoolers try to dunk a sixth grader,” she says, “It [was] one of the more popular events this year.”
According to other Circus-goers, the mechanical bull ride was the most exciting attraction. Some students even took part in competitions to see who could last the longest on the bull. The longest bull rider lasted 116 seconds, according to the overseer of the ride.
“It was really scary. I just wanted to try it out and lasted for eight seconds,” says Caroline Corcoran ’21. “I wanted to go on it again, but when I got on it, I wanted to get off.”
The circus also included student and teacher performances, many of them musical.
William Oulton ’21, son of Math Department Chair Christine Oulton, played a song by AC/DC on the guitar.
The Craigie Street Singers, which include Caroline, Clio Quilter-Vagts ‘21, Katie Gould ‘21, Amaiah Manion ‘22, and Dunia Sarkis ’22, sang a number of songs by Adele and Selena Gomez.
Caroline says, “We had been practicing after school since January. I also sang ‘Call Me Maybe’ [by Carly Rae Jepsen] in my solo. It was a little hard singing it, but I still had a lot of fun.”
Lower School Math Teacher Ellie Cowen, who has her own band, Seamus & Ellie, performed acoustic songs with guitarist and fellow Lower School Kindergarten Teachert Benjamin Goldhaber.
“It was wonderful to perform in front of all the kids,” says Ms. Cowen, “It was especially nice to see their smiling faces.”
There were also several carnival games: a Coca-Cola bottle ring toss, a football target-practice station, and a dice game in which the number on the die determined the kind of candy given as a prize. “Many students were attracted to this game. Playing it was almost like getting free candy,” Henry says.
Kate Enroth P ’17, ’22 explains, “Children play games for tickets; for one game, one [child] gets one ticket. These tickets can then be used to get an assortment of prizes like inflatable bats, hackie-sacks, etcetera.”
According to most attendees, the Circus was an overall success this year.
Phoebe Schmaltz ’22 agrees: “It is probably the most fun thing other than the end of school.”
Photo: Students engaged in karate, among other activities, at the BB&N Circus. Photo by Elliot Eton ’14.