Noe Valley Voice May 2013


A Party by Any Other Name

By Heather World


Preschooler Rosa Jackson shows off her freshly painted face at last year’s FiestaVal at Fairmount School.     Photo by Ellen Opie Kindergartner Simone Ferrigno enjoys a post-facepaint popsicle at the 2012 Alvarado Carnaval.    Photo by Maria Elena Lubet Kindergarten baseball players Gianna Campos (above) and Benicio Fontana (below) swing their bats for the Panthers at Thomas Edison Charter Academy (TECA).    Photos by David Rosenthal


You can celebrate the flavor of Latin American holidays over two Saturdays while getting a taste of two nearby Spanish immersion elementary schools.

On Saturday, May 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the playground at 65 Chenery St. becomes a free neighborhood party for Fairmount Elementary School’s 11th annual FiestaVal.

More than just carnival games and bouncy houses, FiestaVal has a learn-to-ride bike rodeo, a live butterfly tent, and arts and crafts. Whether you win a goldfish, get your face painted, or bid on school art, all ticket proceeds benefit the school. There will be taco and Filipino cuisine food trucks, but if you want to burn calories while you consume, there’s also the bike blender smoothies. Expect live music, colorful skirts, and lots of fun.

 “It’s the perfect way to get to know Fairmount as both neighbor and prospective school,” says parent Kim Green.


Carnaval with Cake

The following Saturday, May 18, Alvarado Elementary School throws open the gates at 625 Douglass St. from noon to 4 p.m. for its annual Carnaval.

Head to the 22nd Street entrance to buy tickets for the dunk tank, water slide, and carnival games. (Toddler games are free.) Many children choose to swing by the cake room to see the creative confections baked up as prizes for the popular cake walk. This year’s less sugary fare includes parent-made pupusas and Kansas City barbecue.

There is live music, face-painting, a photo booth from 2 to 4 p.m., and balloon animals. The science, math, and art committees will have booths, making the day a good opportunity to talk to the parents who fuel the programs at Alvarado with fundraisers like Carnaval.

Bring towels and a change of clothes for kids who plan to get wet. All proceeds benefit the school.


Whale Watch

Check out the skeleton of a 30-foot gray whale at James Lick Middle School’sWhale Watch & Science Fair Saturday, May 18, from noon the 3 p.m. The Whale is a mobile teaching project from Mission Science Workshop, and its bones will be assembled on the school’s auditorium stage by students and teachers on May 17.

Hallways and classrooms will be set up with 150 of the students’ science projects, like a working volcano, a scale model of a tsunami, and experiments with gravity, electricity, and water.

The celebration reflects the school’s strong science program, says parent ­Vincent Leddy.

“They have an amazing group of science teachers and art teachers,” says Leddy, noting that the school has the largest cohort of middle school students who move on to Lowell High School and the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, the city’s two most sought-after high schools.

Donations to keep such programming strong are welcome. For information, contact Leddy at or call 415-283-6974. JLMS is located at 1220 Noe St.


Edison Sluggers

Thomas Edison Charter Academy, at 3531 22nd St., is fielding a co-ed kinder- and first-grade baseball team this spring, and many of the 18 boys and girls are playing league baseball for the first time, says parent Kate Sherwood.

Parent and Noe neighbors’ donations of money and time, plus a sponsorship from Claudio’s Auto Repair, has meant sharp orange uniforms, new equipment, and weekly practices for the TECA Panthers, part of the San Francisco Youth Baseball League.

“It’s so great to see parents and kids getting together outside of school,” says Sherwood. “I’ve had a chance to get to know other TECA parents better, and we’re all having a ton of fun as our kids learn how to play.”