Students get circus treat

Students at Stourbridge Primary School were treated to a full-day trip to the Shriners' Circus at the Kingston Armory on April 21.

“It's a little smaller than the Barnum and Bailey but it's very well done and the kids really enjoy it,” said Wayne-Pike Shrine Club member John Burlein. “We have a lot of animals and they look forward to it.”

Burlein said they usually sponsor between 700 and 800 students from local schools to visit the circus.

“Shriners are all for kids,” he said. “This is part of our activities that we have planned for them along with the other things that we sponsor... We do it all for the benefit of the kids.”

The students were seen off by Burlein and fellow Shriners Harrison Balthaser, Roger Dirlam and William Garrett. Ken Dickinson, the shriner responsible for setting up the event, was unable to attend.

“Although he couldn't be here today, his spirit is with us,” Burlein said.

The Shrine Club has been sponsoring Stourbridge's trip to the circus for three years.

“Ken Dickinson called me about this Shrine Circus down at the Kingston Armory and asked if our kids would be interested in going,” said Stourbridge Primary Principal Paula Brennan That first year, Brennan said, the Shriners paid for both admission and busing for the entire Stourbridge student body, about 400 kids. Since

then, however, she said the Parent Teacher Association has provided busing to and from the event while the Shriners continue to cover the cost of admission.

“It truly is a free trip for our kids to go,” Brennan said.

Packed lunches are provided by the school for students who can't bring them from home.

After the circus ends, the students are often treated to a romp around Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre.

“It's an awesome day,” Brennan said.

The principal said she was grateful to the Shriners.

“The amazing part is that [the Shriners] think about their community as a whole and about how many children would not have an opportunity to see the circus,” she said.

She was especially grateful to Dickinson.

“If it wasn't for him … and his work behind the scenes, we wouldn't have been able to even connect with the Shriner organization,” Brennan said. “This is really such a great day for kids. It's great because of the Shriners and because of our PTA for providing the funding for us to go.”

Wayne Highlands School District Superintendent Greg Frigoletto added, “We were just extremely appreciative that [the Shriners] provided this opportunity. “That the Shriners are putting this on for the entire school is just unbelievable. To give something like this to our school community for many, many kids that might never get to a circus, it's really a wonderful thing.”

Article Couresty of:
David Mazzenga
The Wayne Independent