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Eli Whitney School's Social Brings Holiday Cheer To Families In Stratford

Stacie Rich, Mackenzie Rich, Dawn Kascak and Aubrie Rich pass out volunteer at the Eli Whitney School Holiday Social with Grace Kascak (r).
Stacie Rich, Mackenzie Rich, Dawn Kascak and Aubrie Rich pass out volunteer at the Eli Whitney School Holiday Social with Grace Kascak (r). Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

STRATFORD, Conn. — Eli Whitney Elementary School was a-buzz Thursday, as parents and children decorated gingerbread men and did a little pre-holiday shopping at the annual Holiday Social and Vender Fair.

Organizers expected about 250 people at the sold-out social in the cafeteria, where volunteers gave children gingerbread men and all the frosting and little extras they would need to decorate them.

The popular event started in 2010, when Dawn Kascak was president of the Parent Teacher Student Association. It replaced an ice cream social that was moved to the beginning of the school year.

“My youngest is now graduating,” said Kascak, a mom to five girls who has volunteered at the school for 17 years. “So it’s kind of bittersweet that I won’t be here next year.”

Stacie Rich, who was busy passing out gingerbread kits, said she loves helping.

“It’s a nice way to be involved in the school community and bring some holiday cheer,” she said. “And it’s good for the kids to see their parents involved.”

Upstairs in the gymnasium, Amanda Murray presided over the holiday vendor fair, which brought 20 local small businesses out to show their wares. Customers chose from handmade scarves and soaps, jewelry, cookware, gourmet foods and many more gift ideas.

“There’s a lot of different stuff you won’t find other places,” said Murray, who has a daughter in fourth grade.

In one corner, Lang Mastro stood at her Mickey Adventures table, looking to drum up clients for her travel-planning business that specializes in trips to the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s other destinations and cruises.

Wearing a “Talk Disney to Me” shirt, Mastro said she works to tailor trips to each family’s individual dreams and keeps an eye on the bottom line.

“The point is you want them to experience it and enjoy it,” she said.

Murray said the evening’s events were expected to raise about $700 for the PTSA.

“It’s all about the kids,” she said. “That’s what this is all for.”

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