McHenry Circus
Lions, tigers and teachers - oh my!
Posted on 02/28/2014
strong man

Lions, clowns, swinging monkeys, and crazy dancing; all of these are a formula for an entertaining time in the annual McHenry Primary School Circus. This is McHenry’s 21st year of hosting a circus for the children and parents of McHenry. Penny Pryor, physical education teacher and organizer of the circus, has been the circus master from the very beginning. “The kids love it,” said Pryor. “They begin asking me who will be in the circus at the beginning of each school year.”  Children and teachers get in on the acts to make up one of the greatest shows on earth.

Pre-K through third grade students participated in the circus.  The kids transformed into performers to portray a strong man, a monkey swinging on bars, or even a lion. Children were also involved behind the scenes to set-up acts in the circus. McHenry’s greatest show in town is a school-wide event, and everyone is eager to help.  Children are so eager to perform that Ms. Pryor has had to limit participation in the circus to one event per student. Pryor enjoys working with the children on an activity that they have come to love so much.  She said “I try to organize the students by their talents, or where I see something really special.”  For Pryor, it is not just about the show but also letting the children display the movement skills she has taught them in physical education classes at McHenry.

The performers usually practice three weeks in advance, but due to school days missed this year because of snow, Pryor had to scale back, to only two weeks of practice.  The lack of practice time did not dampen the children’s enthusiasm to show their talents on performance day.  There are always two shows in the McHenry three ring circus, one at 1:30 p.m. for just the students and another at 6:30 p.m. for the parents and the community. Both shows had great audiences, who were enthralled by the wackiness and talent of the children and teachers who got into the act.