By Alan Sorensen
More than 100 diners feasted on Indian tacos prepared and served by Havre High School Culture Club members at Lincoln-McKinley School last night. Then they broke from the cafeteria to play a vast array of board and card games in the gym while the high schoolers mopped up the kitchen and dining room.
The 15 or so game tables monitored by 10 Havre High School HELPers and two advisors were filled with kids of all ages, some giggling and some serious about winning.
Heather Bowker, an HHS freshman, was helping out at a table of very young checkers players. "These guys seem to know what they're doing," she said as someone's grandmother helped one of the players decide on a move. "They're pretty good at it."
The evening was the second City-wide Family Game Night cosponsored by Havre Public Schools and HELP's Drug-Free Communities Project. Everyone in town was invited with the stipulation that all children had to be accompanied by adults.
While the tacos cost $3 with a pop thrown in, and slabs of fry bread or sweetened scones went for $1, the game playing was free of charge. Several players even won games donated by HELPers as door prizes.
The Culture Club will use the proceeds from the taco sale to help send its members to a spring powwow, probably in Missoula or Billings. Fifteen of the club's 25 members showed up to work last night.
"We cooked the fry bread last night and some of the people cooked their stuff after school today," Jaime WindyBoy, a senior, said. "We cooked the hamburger last night, too, and heated it up here tonight."
In one instance, a game of Balderdash had to be shelved for a game of Monopoly that youngsters said they'd rather play. "(Balderdash) was more for grownups," senior HELPer Erin Patera said.
"I'm thrilled," said organizer Laura Malisani, family/school coordinator for Havre Public Schools and H.E.L.P. "I couldn't believe it. The kids were so good. The volunteers just pitched in, worked with the kids. They got every child involved. The food was great.
"The kids had the times of their lives. The smiles on their faces made that obvious."
Malisani said several door prizes were awarded at the end of the evening, including five board games, several decks of cards, and some Beanie Babies and some stuff animals.
"The idea was to have a lot of stuff to go home with the kids," Malisani said.
Malisani said she was particularly pleased with the high schoolers who helped with the meal and with the games.
"I was really impressed with the volunteers. ..." she said. "Everyone stayed around afterwards and helped clean up and put away chairs."
The third family game night at Lincoln-McKinley is planned for sometime next spring.