Annual June 9 Community Breakfast event expands to invite neighboring Kennett
By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com
EAST MARLBOROUGH — What more American tradition is there than inviting the neighbors over for a hearty meal?
How about inviting in the neighboring school district, then?
The Community Breakfast — the brainchild of former Unionville-Chadds Ford Superintendent of Schools Sharon Parker — is now officially a joint venture of the Kennett Consolidated School District and Unionville-Chadds Ford, and something administrators in both districts hope become a regular occurrence.
That means this year’s free breakfast, on June 9, 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at Unionville High School, is open to residents of both school districts as a way to build community not just within, but between the neighboring school districts.
As in past years, district administrators will be on hand to cook and serve — the difference is that it will now be both Kennett and Unionville administrators donning the aprons and wielding the cooking implements. While both districts will have about 10 — give or take — administrators, breakfast attendees will be able to tell them apart: Unionville personnel will be in navy, while Kennett staff will be in royal blue.
Although just finalized in the last couple of weeks, the idea had been percolating as the two district leaders — Superintendents Barry Tomasetti of Kennett and John Sanville of Unionville would chat. As those chats evolved, both agreed that there was interest on both sides in looking for ways to bring the two districts — and their communities — together when possible.
“We first started talking last September, when Barry called me to welcome me to the club (of local school superintendents),” Sanville said. “We talked then about doing some things together, going forward.”
“I really have to give John a lot of the credit,” Tomasetti said. “As a new superintendent, he initiated talks about this.”
Everyone involved agreed that it’s a natural pairing, with so many community connections from youth sports, to the fact that one municipality — East Marlborough — is shared between the districts. At the same time, the two schools have a distinct rivalry — whether in sports, academics or just in the communities surrounding the two school districts. At times, that rivalry has become a little heated — and both Sanville and Tomasetti said they were looking for opportunities to keep the relationship between the neighbors a little bit more, well, neighborly.
“We have a rivalry between Unionville and Kennett,” Tomasetti said. “But we want to keep it healthy.”
He said that both districts signed on with the idea of doing some small things together — earlier this year students from Kennett Middle School and Patton Middle School worked together on a clean up of Anson Nixon Park on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
Tomasetti said he hoped that the breakfast would attract folks from the Kennett community — the Unionville community has been turning out for the breakfast since its inception.
“I think it will be interesting to see how many people from Kennett come to the breakfast,” he said.
If the joint breakfast is a success, could the school districts take turns hosting the event in future years?
The answer is a little complicated, Tomasetti acknowledges.
As is usual, the breakfast coincides with the Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society a walk-a-thon fund-raising event that takes place on the track at Unionville’s stadium, throughout the evening and early morning hours before the breakfast. Many participants enjoy breakfast after their walking stint and the two events have become somewhat intertwined.
While Tomasetti said Kennett would like to be able to host the Walk For Life event, currently its football stadium/track does not have lights. While the lights remain in process — and subject to approval by Kennett Square — once installed, he said, it would be possible to have the entire event alternate between the two schools, something he expressed interest seeing happen at some point down the road.
Meanwhile, on June 8, the Kennett/Unionville Walk For Life event kicks off at 6 p.m. Some 18 teams with 180 participants have raised pledges totaling more than $31,000 to aid in the fight against cancer. For more information, or to sign up to walk, click here.