WOODSTOCK – Westwood Elementary students got to try their hand at steel drums, woodworking, slot car racing and a variety of other niche activities Friday as part of the school’s annual Wide World of Wonder Event.
The event takes place annually in effort to gives kids a chance to engage with activities they wouldn’t normally have a chance to take part in. Various presenters from around the McHenry County area come to the school to give students a chance to experiment with different educational hobbies and projects.
Wide World of Wonder began in 1993 with then-Principal Dick McDowell, who retired in 2003 but was on-site Friday. McDowell said he was delighted to see that the event lives on.
“The fact that it’s still going on 20 years later is pretty cool,” he said. ”It means people understand it’s important.”
He said that the importance of the event is not only to give students a chance to engage in a variety of new activities, but give them a chance to socialize with kids outside their normal classes.
“We want to expose them to more,” McDowell said. “You’re not just with your own group of kids.”
Rita Caywood, who helped organized the event with the district, said one of the reasons the event has stayed on for so long is because it's important to give students opportunities that they wouldn’t normally have had.
“It’s their choice. They choose their events they want to attend,” she said. “It’s a great, fun event for the kids. It’s a cool day. We are in this for the kids. It’s all about them today.”
Keaton Parrish, 11, said his favorite activity of the day was the woodworking course he took.
"It was with my favorite teacher, and I like working with wood," he said. "I like today better. We're more having fun and spending time with our friends."