Missy Wyzykowski had a big goal, and a bigger idea.
The Fox Chapel Middle School Title 1 parent educator wanted to get students more excited about their school, more parents to visit, and more involvement from the community.
So she started the school's first Holiday Extravaganza.
Wyzykowski says "extravaganza" with a flourish of arms and voice that has spread enthusiasm for the event throughout the school. There is a lot of teacher, staff and student involvement.
The Dec. 17 event is open to the community, not just students and their families.
"That's one of the things we have as a schoolwide goal, community involvement," said assistant principal Vivian Sweeney. "We're trying to do lots of things to bring the community into the school's family."
It should be convenient for families, since it follows the holiday dance and parents will be picking up their students at that time. This way they can just stay.
The planning has been going on for two months and teachers are busy decorating their doors.
The halls will be open at the event for visitors to stroll and view the decorations. It is a contest, with the doors being judged and the winning class receiving a special lunch and the teacher a gift card.
There will be lots of activities. Children can make crafts and have their pictures taken with Santa Claus. There will be a bounce house, a cake walk, a silent auction and story telling. Expect carolers and door prizes.
Food concessions will be available. There will be hot dogs, soda, popcorn, hot chocolate, hot cider, flan and baked goods.
Besides community arts and crafts, students will also be selling their wares, including wreaths, bracelets and ornaments they have made. Other vendors will offer jewelry, Duct tape wallets, greeting cards and woodcrafts.
"Each grade level is taking care of different things," Wyzykowski said.
There will be school items available, like T-shirts, drawstring backpacks and yearbooks from the past. This year's yearbook can be ordered at the event.
A lot of the activities will take place in the cafeteria, including live music. Di'Anna's Dance Express will give two performances titled "Christmas Magic."
Parking is available in the front and the rear of the school. Admission is $1 and proceeds will benefit students and school programs.
"It's a great idea," said principal Barbara Kidder. "With one person's idea, it has grown and grown and grown and our whole school community is involved. We think it's going to be a fun evening."