Gator Game Night at Granby Elementary School on March 3 was rocking with activities like the Toilet Bowl Toss, in which students tossed paper rolls into "toilets" to win prizes, a "cash machine" with swirling green prize tickets, a cake walk, bingo, a selfie photo station and live music from a few familiar voices.
Students also could send friends, family members and teachers to a "jail" throughout the evening, said coordinator Mary Sterenberg, who organized the event with Jamee Goodrich.
"This year, our school mascot, Gizmo the Gator, made his debut and took selfies with students and jammed with the band," she said. "We had dinner and carnival foods available and a silent auction, with prizes like Blue Jackets tickets, restaurant gift cards and themed baskets."
The band was the Swamp Things, which comprises Granby teachers wearing wigs, colorful costumes and "rocking '80s attitudes."
"The funds raised by Game Night allow teachers to make new ideas and opportunities for our students a reality," she said. "It also warms my heart to see groups of kids decked out in colorful hats, glow-stick necklaces and blinking hats, having a blast after hours and rocking out with Swamp Things."
Members of the band have a blast, too, said principal Patti Schlaegel.
"I have no musical talent and my bandmates put up with my ridiculous tambourine playing," Schlaegel said. "We are pretty silly and the elementary kids appreciate that.
"As a kid, I always wanted to be like Tracy Partridge, so I guess I get to live out a childhood dream. I'm not sure who has the more fun, the kids or us. I love that we have amazing staff members at Granby (who) consistently go above and beyond to do great things for kids."
Other band members are Rick Armstrong, Mandy Ballreich, Ty Hollinger, Parker Norvell and Kate Walker.
"This is the fourth year that the Swamp Things (have) played at Gator Game Night," Armstrong said.
"It started out as somewhat of a short musical skit and now has turned into a seven-song playlist."
He said the staff seeks out opportunities to get "ridiculous" with the students.
"We feel this strengthens teacher-student relationships, raises the 'fun factor' within the walls of our building and makes Granby a special place to learn," Armstrong said. "Students get super excited about seeing their teachers and principal put on silly costumes and genuinely have a great time together up on stage.
"It's pretty neat knowing that you're helping create positive, long-lasting memories of their school experience."
Armstrong's son, Brody, is in kindergarten at Granby.
"I like how the teachers dress up," Brody said.
Hollinger said he has a lot of fun as a band member.
"It's very easy to get caught up in the seriousness of being a public-school teacher -- there's a lot to get done," he said. "But it's important to let loose a bit and have a good time with our students.
"We create a fun and exciting environment that keeps our students and (we) teachers excited to keep coming back to learn every day at Granby."
Schlaegel said Gator Game Night always has a good turnout.
"The kids and parents love being able to interact with the teachers and staff members in such a fun atmosphere," she said. "It's a great way to build relationships with students that have a positive impact on their growth in the classroom."
Sterenberg said more than 500 people attend each year and the event draws more than 50 volunteers.
"I love that the game night brings our school families together," she said.