Anne Hathaway Public School has another plaque to hang on its wall this year.
The school won this year’s Snowman Stroll Award, an annual design competition for the snowmen that line the paths of Stratford Winterfest every year.
Each year students from local schools decorate wooden snowmen for Winterfest and are judged by the committee that holds the celebration.
Julie Hohner, vice-principal at the school, had only started in January of this year but is already impressed with the students’ commitment and creativity. A handful of Grade 5 and 6 students gave up their lunches and recesses for a week in January to brainstorm and decorate the snowman.
“The theme was superheroes,” Hohner explained. “The school colours were included, the school initials are on them, too. They wanted to reflect the school with the wings … I think that's why it might have stood out from the other snowmen.”
Before students across Stratford decorated the snowmen, one volunteer made sure to get them ship-shape.
Cory Geiger is a volunteer with the annual winter celebration, having gotten involved through Community Living Stratford and Area (CLSA) three years ago.
Every year he is instrumental in helping the snowmen get prepared. He pulls them out of storage, strips them down, sands them, and gets them primed for students to decorate. Then he delivers them to various schools in the area, with some help from CLSA.
It’s a lot of work, but Geiger said he does it to have a job and help out the community - the money he gets for the job doesn’t hurt either.
Geiger delivered the plaque honouring the win to the school and the students who designed the snowman on Thursday morning.
He was pleased with this year’s competition and promised that he’ll be back with the snowmen next year.
Carys Wyn Hughes, manager of support services with CLSA and a Winterfest organizer, said that Geiger’s involvement continues to be integral to the annual event.
“Cory has become a huge support for Stratford Winterfest and has taken on the role of organizing and running the snowman program for the event,” Carys Wyn Hughes said. “His enthusiasm and skills have further expanded the interest with the schools as well.”
Hughes also pointed out that Geiger’s involvement has also impressed other communities. She has had people from other regions reach out to ask about how CLSA created an intergenerational opportunity for Geiger to be a part of his community.